By giving his an A certificate to the first trailer of his next film, Aligarh, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was acting like a cultural police and thwarting its promotions, filmmaker Hansal Mehta has alleged. Starring Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkumar Rao in lead roles, the film which deals with the stigma surrounding homosexuality.
“This is an attempt to thwart my promotion. They cannot ban the film, because my film does not in any way go against the guidelines of the Cinematograph Act,” he said on the sidelines of the maiden Difficult Dialogues conference in Goa. “This is the cultural police deciding what we should see... I’m furious and very angry, because they’ve violated my expression,” he added.
Aligarh is based on the real life incident of Professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras of Aligarh Muslim University, who was terminated from his job because of his sexuality. Rajkummar Rao plays a journalist in the film who is trying to bring his story to the world.
Watch Aligarh trailer
Earlier, speaking at the trailer launch of Aligarh, Hansal Mehta said, “When the censor board saw the film they asked for certain cuts. I am a bit surprised by the cuts they have asked for. The film in many ways is about loneliness, relationships, rejection. It’s about a homophobic society. What has happened is the censor is behaving exactly like the people who suspended professor Siras. They (Censor Board) are behaving like a homophobic society... We are taking the matter to the tribunal. It’s just that you are breaking the back of a film, you are making us run around pillar to post when we should be taking the film to you, showing the film to everyone”
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, too, took to Twitter to criticise censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani for giving the ‘A’ certificate to Aligarh’s trailer. “Aligarh trailer has been given the A certificate because the film is about what all the Pahlaj Nihalani’s of Aligarh did to one man,” Kashyap posted on twitter.
"Aligarh" trailer has been given the A certificate because the film is about what all the Pahlaj Nihalani's of Aligarh did to one man..— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) January 30, 2016
Mehta expressed his displeasure over the censor board’s decision to give an A certificate to the film’s trailer. “We have only a month to promote the film. It’s not only an important entertainment medium but important film for our nation. They have put a stop to the promotions by giving the promo an A certificate. This promo can now run only with an A-certificate film. I am showing the trailer in protest and absolute anger,” he added.
Mehta, who has directed critically-acclaimed films like Shahid and Citylights in the past, said that there is nothing in the trailer which should attract the A rating and rued that because of the tag, he can only promote his film during screening of adult films and cannot push it during primetime television. He, however, said that the social media is the big hope, which will ensure attempts to suppress the film are not successful.
He said the film is yet to get a nod from the CBFC and the board has asked for some “ridiculous cuts”, which he is contesting. Sounding optimistic about a favourable ruling from the tribunals, Mehta said the film will not miss its February 26 release date.
Follow @htshowbiz for more.