"The censors loved my film but they thought that the content was adult. They wanted a lot of dialogue muted, and 14 cuts for a ‘U/A’ certificate. I had no time to negotiate because I had to dispatch the overseas prints. Had I gone in for any amendments hurriedly, I’d have ended up butchering my film. So, I had no option but to settle for an ‘A’ certificate without any cuts,” says Madhur Bhandarkar, pointing out that there can’t be different parameters for film and TV. “Certain changes in censorship guidelines are imperative. There can’t be different yardsticks for reality shows and films.”
Dil To Baccha Hai Ji revolves around a 38-year-old divorcee in love with a 21-year-old, a womaniser who doesn’t believe in commitment, and an idealist looking for true love. The rom-com, insists the director, is a mirror to today’s generation that’s vocal on once-taboo subjects like virginity, pornography and infidelity.
But apparently it was this ‘bold’ talk, and explicit lovemaking scenes that goaded our moral guardians into believing that the film was unfit for viewing by under 18-year-olds, even under parental guidance.
Bhandarkar reasons that children today are exposed to an amazing amount of content on TV, smses and the Internet. “You can’t talk about a postcard in the age of Internet,” he argues. “I’ve bagged National Awards for socially relevant cinema like Chandni Bar, Page 3, Traffic Signal and Fashion. I’m not here to make a titillating potboiler.”
Insisting that there’s nothing derogatory in his film, and that the intimate scenes are underplayed, he says that although Fashion got an ‘A’ certificate, he has had 10-year-olds telling him how much they enjoyed the film. “Obviously, they saw it at home with their parents on DVD,” he says.
“So what’s with these outdated censorship laws? Isn’t it time we gave 12, 15 and 18-year-olds the right to decide for themselves what they should watch and what they shouldn’t?”