The I&B Ministry’s last minute decision to cancel the TV premiere of Balaji’s The Dirty Picture (TDP), came as a rude shock to the industry. Though it was re-edited for family audiences with roughly 59 cuts, the fate of director Milan Luthria’s movie still hangs in limbo. The question on many minds right now is — why and how are filmmakers willing to dilute their movies for a televised screening?
Reviewing the situation, producer-director Mahesh Bhatt explains, “You can prune the adult-rated scenes, which are overtly shocking, violent or have hyper sexual overtones. But how can you tone down films that are inherently adult in nature and in terms of their core themes? That is the big question staring at us right now.”
Bhatt feels that the TDP fiasco should be used as an opportunity for the broadcasters, the ministry, Censor Board and film industry to get together and devise a solution that is palatable to the nation. “It will be tough and complex, but TV is an important medium that cannot be ignored,” he adds.
Another important reason why filmmakers don’t shy away from trimming their movies for TV is also the revenue generated from the sale of satellite rights. TDP was sold to Sony Entertainment Television for a reported Rs 8 cr.
Nonetheless, the point of watching a movie that is less than what it was intended to be by the director, still seems lost. But Tanuj Garg, CEO Balaji Motion Pictures disagrees: “I want to ask people whether they watch films for the cuts or for the film as a whole. You watch a film for entertainment, for an experience, to motivate and drive you — not for some kinky dialogue or cleavage.” Aamir Khan’s Delhi Belly is another film that is yet to have a TV premiere. Despite making 18 cuts, director Abhinay Deo was not permitted to screen the film by the Censor Board.
Industry’s balancing act
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