HIGH PRAISE: Shahid Kapoor in a scene from Udta Punjab
THERE was a special screening last week of Udta Punjab at the Soho Hotel organised by Grand Showbiz, a new entertainment company backed by Dr Kartar Lalvani of Vitabiotics fame and headed by its managing director, Rohit Shelatkar.
The film, which deals with drug addiction in Punjab, has been at the centre of a row in India after Pahlaj Nihalani, chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification, demanded 89 cuts. But the Bombay high court humiliated Nihalani by reducing the number to one.
I found the film surprisingly coherent – and give it 7/10. The audience howled with laughter at the swear words which Nihalani had wanted deleted.
Even more ridiculous was his demand that all references to Punjab be removed, when the state is so much a character in the drama, along with mention of words like election, MP, party, MLA and parliament.
Just to get matters into perspective, Nihalani, who has been a film producer for 30 years, should see the Danny Boyle-directed Trainspotting, a 1996 film which tackles the issue of the drugs menace in culturally rich Edinburgh.