January 18, 2010


Film makers in India consider the censor board of film certification (CBFC) to be some sort of a plague to their creativity. The reason being: They seldom stop with “just” certifying a movie. More often than not, they find themselves playing preachers of morality constantly generalizing their opinion as India’s outlook and giving “cuts” to a movie which they “think” is not appropriate for general public. Most of us would unanimously agree that India is a country with 1 billion people with different sensibilities, but what irks the film makers is the alleged double standards and selective moral policing from the officials.

Let us take few examples: All it takes for a movie to be rated as “A” is to depict a steamy kiss on screen by the lead pair or show blood splashing out from guys head. Ironically, a heroine prancing around in a bikini with the camera expertly zooming in on her vital stats revealing every aspect of her voluptuous body by circling her like in “Matrix” might not necessarily be rated as “A”. Not to mention the crude lyrics which describe a woman’s body always remain untouched.
Mr. Babu Ramasami, Regional officer, CBFC was recently seen at the FICCI conclave refuting the allegations of any sort of double standards “ We should see a film in its entirety, what may be applicable in one film, may not be the same for some other film…the context is very important… ”. He also went on to add that “Mr. Thol. Thirumavalavan, has even acted as LTTE chief Prabhakaran and the film was censored and deemed fit for release, if the theme of the movie is acceptable then we will certify it. There is no question of a bias here? “

The line drawn by CBFC clearly robs film makers of their artistic expression, Dr. Kamal Hassan speaking about the issue in the FICCI conclave opined that “Expletives can help a lot in building a character “.Expletives are frowned upon by the officials simply because they “Think” that people would find it inappropriate.
Depictions of sexual acts on screen seem to attract a lot of attention while films that depict sexuality and gender in a very bad light go completely unchecked and unnoticed. There are number of instances where a transsexual has been portrayed in a ridiculous fashion and yet the censor board has done nothing to prevent it!

Homosexuals are seldom spared as many films try to evoke laughter by ridiculing them. Not to mention the chauvinism that has been aimed at women for decades now in Tamil cinema. On what basis where they certified as appropriate to be screened? May be, it was decided that Transsexuals, homosexuals and women don’t deserve to have any sort of sensitivity.

"Hey Ram”, a period film about Indian partition was certified by CBFC and was deemed “fit” to be screened in India, yet the movie was banned politically in many places. If the theme of the movie was deemed unfit by the political parties, Why did the CBFC certify the film in the first place? If the movie was certified, why was it allowed to be banned?
Few officials decide what 1 billion people in India should watch or otherwise. Officials who certify films should make sure they keep abreast with people of India and the Indian Culture which is evolving at a tremendous rate. Pubs, Malls and discos are thronged by men and women alike without any inhibitions in today’s India. Young Indians are exposed to cultures of other countries as increasing number of Indian students study abroad. It is a fact that majority of Young adults of today may not really mind seeing the lead pair romance on screen, but what puts them off is generalizing ones opinion as the face of evolving India.

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