Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar and member of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Ashoke Pandit have slammed CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani for refusing to certify Prakash Jha’s upcoming film Lipstick Under My Burkha.
Criticising the development, Shyam Benegal said, “I am totally against any kind of censorship of movies. Government has formed a committee under my leadership, we have submitted opposing censorship. To stop any film from releasing is not justifiable.”
The statement comes after CBFC has refused to certify ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, for its reported sexual scenes, abusive words and audio pornography. The movie’s trailer had garnered praises from film fraternity for depicting the secrets of small-town women.
Condemning the CBFC for refusing to clear the award-winning film Lipstick Under My Burkha, member of the film board Ashoke Pandit on Friday said that film industry is under threat from the attitude of Censor Board chairman Pahlaj Nihalani. “I condemn the decision of the CBFC of not allowing Prakash Jha’s ‘lipstick under my burkha’ and very arrogantly refusing to give a certificate to a maker like Prakash Jha. You (Pahlaj Nihalani ) are breaking the confidence of the artist, a maker a creator. So I appeal on behalf of the Indian film and television director’s association and other association that immediate action should be taken on that recommendation by the Shyam Benegal committee.” Pandit said.
Asserting that this onslaught on filmmakers is severely affecting their confidence, he added that the film industry is under threat thanks to the attitude of Nihalani. He further said he being in the Censor Board himself, objects to this kind of arrogance and behaviour. “Being on the Censor Board team and as a board member, I feel sad that a maker like Prakash Jha who has got so many national awards, who is one of the iconic filmmakers of the country, who have made such potential films, has to suffer such doctorial decision,” he added.
The Central Board of Film Certification has “refused” to clear Lipstick Under My Burkha, saying the “story is lady oriented” and “their fantasy above life”.
Lipstick Under My Burkha, which speaks about the aspirations of women, is directed by Alankrita Shrivastava and produced by director Prakash Jha. Shot in Bhopal, Lipstick Under My Burkha is about four women from different sections of society seeking freedom and to fulfill their desires.
Listing the reasons for denial of certificate, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in a letter, posted by Bollywood celebrities online, wrote, “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused under guidelines.”
Bollywood celebrity, Farhan Akhtar also took to Twitter and expressed his disappointment over the decision.
The film won the Spirit of Asia Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality at the Mumbai Film Festival. It will be screened in Glasgow on Friday.
This is not the first time CBFC has refused to certify a film. Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Haraamkhor was refused certificate for depicting an illicit relationship between a school teacher and his teenage student. The film finally released after moving the Film and Certification Appelate Tribunal (FCAT).
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