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Top filmmakers back team Udta Punjab, attack Censor chief over 89 cuts

At a press conference today top filmmakers said they stand with producer Anurag Kashyap's "Udta Punjab," and made a strong pitch for freedom of speech, attacking Censor Board Chief Pahlaj Nihalani for ordering 89 cuts in the film.

Mukesh Bhatt, head of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India said, "I demand on behalf of the entire industry... that the ministry should remove Pahlaj Nihalani," alleging a "complete conspiracy to sabotage" Udta Punjab.

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit said they condemned Mr Nihalani's allegation that the film is funded by the Aam Aadmi Party. He said it was an "insult to the entire industry," and demanded an apology.

On his part, countering Anurag Kashyap's allegations of dictatorial behavior and arbitrary censorship, Pahlaj Nihalani today said about the filmmaker, "I have heard he has taken money from AAP."

"Nihalani should prove I have taken money. He does not even know how to lie," Kashyap retorted, who today moved the Bombay High Court seeking a copy of the Censor Board's order to delete references to Punjab, politics and elections from the film, including the title.

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "Pahlaj Nihlani's statement makes it amply clear that he has stopped the film on the BJP's instructions."

AAP has supported Team Udta Punjab and said the film must release.