Central Board of Film Certification chief Pahlaj Nihalani has said Bollywood film Udta Punjab cannot be cleared because it violates several guidelines put down by the board, reported the Economic Times. "The film shows 70% of the people in the state consume drugs. The movie puts entire Punjab in bad light. Nearly 98% of the movie is in Punjabi and based entirely in Punjab. It is not a Hindi film at all," he said defending the cuts issued for the Kareena Kapoor-Shahid Kapoor starrer.

He said the film, directed by Abhishek Chaubey, will bring a bad name to the community if its release is allowed. Reacting to co-producer Anurag Kashyap's comments on Twitter, Nihalani said, "What dictatorship is he talking about? Nearly eight movies of his have been released in the last one year. Not once has he come here. Every time he creates noise by creating such unwanted controversy to get attention to get his movies running." Kashyap had likened the censor board's crackdown on the film to dictatorship in North Korea.

The film deals with the topic of substance abuse. The reviewing committee has asked the film makers to get rid of any reference to Punjab, politics and elections, besides suggesting around 89 cuts, which include expletives and visual substance abuse, among others. However, they have allowed the film to retain its title. Kashyap's Phantom films and Balaji Telefilms have produced the film. The producers are now planning to move court against the panel's verdict.

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal had raised objections to the film and its depiction the state's drug problem. Media reports have suggested that the Board's refusal to give certification to the film is politically motivated, given that Punjab will hold Assembly elections in February 2017.