Diljit Dosanjh’s ‘Punjab 95’ dropped from Toronto International Film Festival lineup

The certification procedure lasted for six months, resulting in the film being approved with 21 edits and being renamed “Punjab 95”.

The highly-anticipated film ‘Punjab 95,’ featuring the talented Diljit Dosanjh and directed by Honey Trehan, has become a hot topic of discussion since its announcement. The filmmakers initially revealed their exciting plan to showcase the movie at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in July 2023. However, recent reports have sent shockwaves through the industry, indicating that the film’s name has been abruptly removed from the festival’s prestigious line-up.

The plot of ‘Punjab 95’ revolves around the courageous life of human rights advocate Jaswant Singh Kalra, who fearlessly challenged alleged fabricated confrontations of Sikh youths by the Punjab Police during the tumultuous period of militancy. The decision to pull the film from the festival has raised eyebrows, with Variety pointing out the absence of any reference to the movie on the official TIFF website. The reason behind this move is attributed to “political forces at play,” as reported by the publication, citing an undisclosed source.

Originally named ‘Ghallughara,’ referencing the historical term for Sikh massacres in 1746, 1962, and 1984, the movie underwent a rigorous certification process by India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) under the banner of RSVP in late 2022. This procedure, spanning six months, resulted in the film being granted approval with a total of 21 edits, and a subsequent renaming to “Punjab 95.”

The film’s journey encountered another twist when it received an A-grade certification from the CBFC on July 4. However, concerns were raised about the potential impact of the film on India’s diplomatic relations with foreign nations. As a consequence of these controversies, ‘Punjab 95’ was unexpectedly withdrawn from the prestigious TIFF line-up, where it was initially scheduled to make its grand premiere on September 11, as reported by Screen.

Rsvp Movies, led by producers Ronnies Screwala, filed an appeal with the Bombay High Court challenging CBFC’s decision. The film starring actors like Arjun Rampal and Suvinder Vicky, was anticpated for its exploration of historical events. Despite the withdrawal, the verdict on the appeal and further developments are yet to be determined.

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