Bollywood’s never-ending banter with CBFC

  • Titas Chowdhury, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 26, 2016 18:51 IST
A lot of films in the recent past ran into the CBFC trouble.

Filmmakers and the censor board have virtually always been at loggerheads. Creative differences between the film makers seem too trivial when it comes to the battle between the producers and the Central Board of Film certification (CBFC).

Over the last one year, a couple of films have faced the wrath of the censor board and have been brought under its scanner. The censor board has been accused of a bullying attitude, which often infringes on the creative rights of their makers.

From mandating cuts to denying certificates for release, the censor board has become quite the foe for the craft masters of the industry. Here are a few films that ran into trouble with the board and have been brought to the it’s table:

Udta Punjab: The CBFC had initially asked for 89 cuts in the film, citing that the themes dealt with were too mature and inappropriate for the general audience. The word ‘Punjab’ from the title was ordered to be axed, implying that it meant a direct demeaning of the state by damaging and threatening its integrity and sovereignty of the nation. Many abusive words were asked to be toned down and beeped.

Read: Udta Punjab: A standout performance by Alia

The censors brought down that number to 13 later. What followed was a major legal battle between the industry stalwarts and the censor board; with producer Anurag Kashyap referring to the censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani an “oligarch” and “dictator”. Ultimately, the Bombay HC declared that the film could be released with an ‘A’ certificate with just one scene cut – the scene where Shahid Kapoor is shown urinating before a crowd.

The censor board (Central Board of Film Censors) of Pakistan also demanded a whopping 100 cuts on the film with deletion, beeping and muting of words like ‘Maryam ki seerat’ and ‘786’ and gave the film an ‘A’ certificate.

A still from the movie Udta Punjab. It ran into trouble with the CBFC due to its use of expletives and the word ‘Punjab’ in the title.

Haramkhor: This film by Shlok Sharma had been denied a certificate. The examining committee of the CBFC denied passing the film, citing that the theme is objectionable and unacceptable, and puts teachers and the education department in a grey light.

The film, which is based on the illicit relationship between a 14-year-old girl (Shweta Tripathi) and her tuition teacher (played by Siddiqui), has not been asked for any cut. The board has also objected to bold scenes and body gestures the use of expletives and cuss words mouthed by the children.The makers are now planning to approach the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).

A still from Shlok Sharma’s Haramkhor. The CBFC denied giving it a certificate due to its theme.

Veerappan: Ram Gopal Verma’s recent directorial venture titled ‘Veerappan’, a biopic on the notorious dacoit, was under the scanner of the Central Board of Film Certification. Much against the director’s reluctance, the CBFC demanded a cut on a line/scene as they felt that the Tamil groups may have a problem with the scene where Veerappan says that V. Prabhakaran assassinated Rajiv Gandhi.

A still from Ram Gopal Verma’s last film Veerappan. The CBFC demanded a cut in a scene that was likely to give rise to unrest and disharmony .

Bombay Velvet: The CBFC certified an ‘A’ to this period saga by Anurag Kashyap. It also asked for deleting a couple of cuss words like ‘son of a bitch’ and toning down some violent and gory sequences. After Kashyap resorted to the Revising Committee, the film was given a U/A certificate, and it cleared the title of the film since it was a period drama set in the 1960s.

A still from Anurag Kashyap’s period drama Bombay Velvet. It came under the scanner of the CBFC due to a couple of violent scenes and the usage of cuss words.

Aligarh: This Rajkummar Rao-Manoj Bajpai starrer became a victim of the CBFC’s scissors. It muted a number of cuss words. The trailer was given an ‘A’ certificate since it deals with the issue of homosexuality; that was followed by a huge furor on social media. The film was eventually released after a few cuts were suggested.

A still from the biopic Aligarh. It faced the wrath of the censor board due to its central theme and the use of cuss words.

Do Lafzon Ki Kahaani: The CBFC had cut down Randeep Hooda and Kajal Aggarwal’s 18 second long lip lock in Do Lafzon Ki Kahani to 9 seconds, apart from one visual cut and a few audio changes. The censor board has also demanded the removal of words like ‘saale’ and ‘kutte’.

A still from Randeep Hooda and Kajal Aggarwal starrer Do Lafzon Ki Kahaani. The CBFC cut down a kissing scene between the protagonists by 9 seconds.

Jai Gangaajal: Prakash Jha’s crime drama Jai Gangaajal was suggested to be released with 11 cuts including beeping the word ‘saala’ among others. The director said beeping the word would require them to beep it at 50 different places in the film. Prahlaj Nihalani refused to certify the film with a U/A award. When Jha moved to the Revising Committee, an action scene was recommended to be chopped off by 50%.

A still from the political drama Jai Gangaajal. The censor board refused to give a U/A certificate to the film for the use of derogatory words.

NH10: The 2015 thriller faced trouble with the censor board with a couple of violent scenes and expletives. Half of the members of the CBFC even wanted to ban the film. The board wanted the makers to remove the word ‘randi’, which is why the film shows the protagonist erasing the word in the subsequent scene. It finally released with nine cuts and an ‘A’ certificate.

A still from Anushka Sharma’s maiden production NH10. The censor board wanted to put an embargo on the film for its widespread use of expletives.

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