The SAD Truth about Punjab


The SAD Truth about Punjab

Illustration: Saachi Mehta/ Arré


f you can’t say ‘fuck’ you can’t say, ‘fuck the government.’”

This critique of censorship by American stand-up comic Lenny Bruce sounds like the organising principle of India’s meddling, infantilising, and often infuriating censor board. Earlier this week, the Central Board For Film Certification as it is officially known, decided to go all Edward Scissorhands on Abhishek Chaubey’s upcoming film Udta Punjab, which features a story set smack in the middle of the state’s growing drug crisis. The board has verbally demanded 89 cuts from the film, including expletives and visuals of drug use, besides asking the film-makers to remove all references to Punjab, politics, and elections from the film. By the end of this process, I assume, so little of the film will be left that we’d be better off staying at home listening to Mann Ki Baat.