On Wednesday morning, there were reports that the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) a.k.a The Tribunal’s has instructed the CBFC (the Central Board Of Film Certification) to certify Alankrita Shrivastava’s film Lipstick Under My Burkha with an ‘A’ certificate. However, CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani says he has received no such instruction from the FCAT. The film, starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Ratna Pathak Shah, has been in news since January 2017, as the CBFC refused it certification for its “sexual content, abusive words and audio pornography”.
“I am hearing about the FCAT’s verdict through the media. The CBFC has received no such notification. In any case, the film that the FCAT has viewed is very different from the one that the producer(Prakash Jha) showed to the CBFC.So technically, the FCAT has seen and approved of another film,” says Nihalani.
When asked to elaborate, he says, “We were shown a version of Lipstick Under My Burkha that was unacceptable to the CBFC. The Examining Committee did not recommend any cuts because Prakash Jha is a habitual censor protester. He doesn’t take to cuts very kindly. He likes to generate publicity for his films by creating controversies involving the censor board. When the Examining Committee had recommended cuts for his last film Jai Gangaajal (2016) he had gone to the Tribunal and got to his film certified. This time, for Lipstick Under My Burkha, he did the same.”
Nihalani adds that the makers have submitted a version with “voluntary cuts” to the Tribunal. “What happened to the freedom of expression? When the censor board recommends cuts , filmmakers cry about curbing their freedom. But when the filmmaker makes the cuts himself and shows it to the Tribunal, there is no talk of curtailed freedom.”
Nihalani reiterates he has no information from the FCAT about granting the film an ‘A’ certificate. “If and when we receive the notification, we will of course comply with the Tribunal’s wishes. But let me repeat, the film we were given to see is very different from the film viewed by the Tribunal.”
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