Remember this? It is a list of banned words in films issued by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) also known as the Censor Board.
Perhaps it is because of the Censor Board’s Victorian prudishness and the opposition to it that the Union Government on January 1 formed a committee under eminent film director Shyam Benegal to suggest changes in the Censor Board.
The committee has been tasked by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry to oversee the terms included in the Cinematograph Act, 1952, and to check if they were being followed correctly by the CBFC while rating movies. Benegal said that the panel is examining if the current functioning of the censor board is “useful” or not.
Taking a cue from the ‘Save The Internet’ campaign against Free Basics, a website called saveourcinema.in is urging movie lovers to write to the committee on the need to revamp the Censor Board.
In a letter posted on the website, which a user can mail directly to the committee, it has been pointed out that the role of the CBFC is only to certify films and not ban it outright. The letter urges the committee to recommend that the Censor Board does not act as the “moral police” and let adults decide on whether their children can see a movie or not. It appeals that the CBFC should not mute words or delete visuals of violence and nudity in movies certified ‘A’.
Those campaigning for saving films have their reasons. The Censor Board led by Pahlaj Nihalani practically destroyed ‘Deadpool’ by making several cuts. And if you do remember, a particular kissing scene in the James Bond film ‘Spectre’ was cut by 50 per cent.
Pahlaj Nihalani-led Censor Board also left their indelible mark on Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’. This is what they have cut out:
In other words, a film with cuts made by the Censor Board looks like ‘Golmaal’ starring Tusshar Kapoor only.
Perhaps the Censor Board has a particular aversion to anything that is foreign to India’s culture, including love scenes and cuss words. It is, therefore, surprising that ‘Mastizaade’ was allowed to release without a single cut, but you may say that aberrations happen.
The committee also includes Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Nina Lath Gupta, Bhawana Somaaya, Piyush Pandey, Goutam Ghosh, and Kamal Haasan. It will file its report in the next few weeks.