Bengali director Q's controversial film, Gandu, has received another blow at the hands of Censor Board. Reportedly, the film's screening at an ongoing Naya Cinema Festival in Mumbai was scrapped at the last minute.
Q, who is struggling with this unexpected turn of events confirmed the news, "Gandu is not being screened today. Legally, we are all sorted to screen a film in a preview theater without selling tickets, but still, we are unable to screen the film because we have been denied police protection and the theater authorities are justified to stall the screening to protect their interest."
Set in the 'realistic' bylanes of Bengal, and suffused with 'real' sex, the film brings the most personal sexual experience onscreen. the Censor Board might not think it appropriate for Indian audience, the director is positive that the audience is mature enough to understand the film, "The audience isn't as dull and uninteresting as we think. Didn't we freak out with everything that has happened in India in the past ten years?"
While the film has got rave reviews at international festivals, the desi Censor Board is yet to give it a green signal. The director has previously expressed his desire to "negotiate and work with the system". But the censor board has again put its foot down.
He further added, "The screening was originally planned at a multiplex. We usually get exemptions for the international films that we screen at various film festivals. But, for Gandu, we couldn't manage to get censorship exemption. Internationally, the film is winning accolades, but we can't screen the film in India. Therefore, to bring artistic cinema to a discerning audience/critical mass, we thought of an idea - 'To screen the film at a preview theater which is already exempted from censorship and keep it open for the cinema lovers. Thus, we could stay within the purview of the law and still ask the right questions.'
Enlighten Film Society, the organizers of the film festival, said, "Our position is not of senseless defiance, indulgence in counter-culture for the sake of it, or of rebellion - but of the simple-minded promotion of an artist's voice. Through art, artists and cultural platforms, social perceptions will change and acceptance will creep in - allowing space for all forms of art. No Hussain will have to flee, no film will have to be banned. Thanks for being a part of the beginning of the continuing cultural enlightenment."
While the film's screening has been cancelled, the performance by the 'Gandu Circus', Director Q's band, is still on. Q says, "This thankfully doesn't does not contain any sexual or explicit scenes!"
The play will be staged today at 8.30 pm, Mumbai Times café.
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