When 12 Years a Slave was released in India in 2014 with its nude scenes intact, it seemed like the coming-of-age of bold Hollywood films here. But recent developments suggest otherwise. The Censor Board has been working its axe on a long list of Hollywood releases these days, causing the makers of adult comedy film Get Hard (starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart) to withdraw their March 27 release.
“In these times of aggressive censorship, unless you truncate your product to an extent that it doesn’t resemble the original anymore, you can’t get it passed here. This kind of regressive environment is not conducive to adult comedies whose funny lines will be punctuated by over 100-odd beeps,” a source was quoted as saying in a Mumbai tabloid.
This comes after the ban on Fifty Shades of Grey, even as the makers edited out the nude scenes. The release of another film, Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, got delayed by a week. “They (CBFC) wanted to make an Indian cut for the film as they felt that some steamy scenes may not suit Indian sensibilities,” a source told us. Yet another movie — Inherent Vice — didn’t even dare to try its luck. “The producers knew it won’t get a go ahead,” the source said.
Experts are of a mixed view. “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t think the board will exist in future,” says filmmaker Hansal Mehta. Trade analyst Atul Mohan, however, says, “It’s not exactly the CBFC’s fault. They have a responsibility towards the society.”