The censor board needs to be replaced with an industry body which can take a nuanced approach to film certification
Rahul Dass | February 27, 2017 | New Delhi
The Central Board of Film Certification seems to be fast turning into 16th century Italian theatre Commedia dell'arte, whose special characteristic is the lazzo - a joke. And Pahlaj Nihalani is the prima donna of all that is not right with the censor board.
Nihalani, who is frequently quite upset with the falling morality in films, is now aghast at the movie “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, which has walked away with prizes at Tokyo and Mumbai film festivals.
The CBFC has said: "The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused under guidelines (sic)."
It is with disbelief that one hears Nihalani led CBFC has denied certification to the movie. It is certainly an assault on the freedom of expression.
One wonders who has authorized Nihalani and his ilk to sit on moral judgement on 1.2 billion people and the kind of movie they want to watch. It is another matter altogether that you can watch endless smut through the free internet. We seem to be steadily moving backwards in the way the censor board is functioning and it seems to losing touch with reality.
Nihalani certainly has forgotten the four-minute liplock between Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani in the 1933 film Karma. That’s over eighty years ago and in the new millennia, we have a censor board which has shut its eye to how the society has moved ahead.
This is not the first time that the censor board seems to have lost the plot. Remember the film Udta Panjab. He placed 89 restrictions. After it was challenged, the movie was allowed to be released with just one cut.
I think it is time to completely do away with the censor board and replace it with certification from a film industry body, which understands the finer nuances. There is a difference between how a subject is artistically treated and where it is crude and crass. Bar it when it is in poor taste, but do let go when it is dealt the aplomb.
Instead of people like Nihalani deciding on the moral values, it would do a world of good if sensitive and credible actors, directors, producers as well as technical experts from across the country form a grouping which can see and pass the films without toeing the value system of the party in power.
The cave canem: Film makers too need to be careful while dealing with sensitive subjects that are increasingly becoming taboo in our frigid society. It is good to make artsy movies, but to have a movie title which suspiciously looks it is meant to poke it in your eye is not fair.
The idea is to make the movie work, even by generating a controversy. The more controversial, the more moolah it will pull in. This, unfortunately, does work, but not every time.
An unsolicited advice for Pahlaj Nihalani. More than lipstick under the burkha, he needs to be worried about lipstick on the collar – the first may in fact add to the beauty, but the latter is definitely about adultery.
Wonder whether he would get nightmares if he listens to the Connie Francis 1959 song Lipstick on your collar.
“Lipstick on you collar, told a tale on you
Lipstick on you collar, said you were untrue
Bet your bottom dollar, you and I are through
Cause, lipstick on you collar told a tale on you, yeah.”
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