The film has never been officially released in any form. A copy of the film was leaked online in 2010.
According to Anurag Kashyap, all those who have seen the film, are surprised it has been refused a certificate. People have been congratulating him on the film's realistic approach. Directors like Ram Gopal Varma, Govind Nihalani, Sudhir Mishra, Kundan Shah, Ketan Mehta, Aziz Mirza and Farhan Akhtar have liked the film. Only Ashutosh Gowariker said that he saw why the censor board was refusing it a certificate. It is really disturbing, he said.
Anurag Kashyap wanted to make Paanch four years before it eventually got made, in 1999, with Manoj Bajpayee and Raveena Tandon among the lead actors. But things didn't work out. Anurag was not able to find any producer for the film. Then, when Pradeep Tutu Sharma agreed to produce the film, Anurag decided to cast Kay Kay Menon and Tejaswini Kolhapure instead.
The censor board had refused a certificate to the film when it first came up for viewing. The film was then sent to a revising committee, which saw the film and upheld the board's earlier decision.
In September 1993, while Kashyap stayed at the St. Xavier's Boys Hostel, he used to hang out with Adam Avil, Eddie Avil, Luke Kenny and Ulysses Veyra the members of a band-Greek (later Pralay). He took copious notes on how they lead their lives-forty pages of a small notebook, and began writing the script-"in bits and pieces"-for a film that he called Mirage but which would later become Paanch.
Anurag Kashyap had also seen a film, Fun, about two mentally unstable girls murdering an elderly woman. And Paanch was ready to be made into a film.
Both the refusals to release this film were made on six grounds - the film glorifies violence; it shows the modus operandi of a crime (killing of a police officer); it shows excessive use of drugs; it has double meaning dialogues (with sexual undertones); it has no positive characters; it does not carry a social message.
Anurag Kashyap had seen ex-VJ Luke Kenny in a Vikram Kapadia play, and approached him with an incomplete script, but nothing came out of it.
Anurrag Kashyap said when he went with Paanch script to producers office they would think that he is the son of a rich father and wants to waste his money and the film would be a waste,he also said that Paanch lying in cans for years affected his health as he gained a lot of weight during that time but later decided to concentrate on his other projects.