The couple was wrong; they thought the kids won't understand or ask.“Why are the girls kissing, mumma?” the little ones did ask, as the lead actors of the film Margarita With A Straw began locking lips on the large screen in front of them. Their parents, of course, didn't want to answer and told the kids to keep mum and “just watch”.
This was at a cinema hall on Saturday and the kids were not supposed to be watching the movie rated 'A' - only for adults - by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
But there seems to be no check. In the past two days, reporters from the Hindustan Times went around various cinema halls in Ludhiana and saw many kids entering movie halls screening 'A' films without being stopped by the hall managers or ticket checkers.
“Parents are adamant and they blackmail us by asking for a refund. This happens more when tickets are booked online, as at the counter we strictly tell them that children will not be allowed inside the movie hall,” said a manager at a cinema hall, requesting anonymity.
“If they are still reluctant then we ask them to write a letter that they are taking their children at their own risk,” he added.
'They won't understand'
At the theatre in a posh mall in the city, where Margarita was being screened, some kids were so young that they were more interested in chasing their siblings up and down the aisle than the film itself.
Their parents told HT that they brought their children along despite knowing that it's an 'A' film because they had no choice as they could not leave them alone at home.
“What will a three-year-old understand… they are too young,” said a parent, when asked if the vulgarity (according to social standards in Ludiana) won't affect his child.
But the kids did understand. Amid the playing around, they did stop at times, gazing at the mammoth screen when they saw activity by bare bodies, wriggling.
BP Mishra, a clinical psychiatrist and a professor at Dayanad Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), says disagrees with the parents the intellectual development of children begins when they are a year old and notice and absorb everything they see. The kids, he says, may soon imitate what they see people doing.
“This is a false view point (that the kids won't understand)… a child may not be able to understand the dialogues but can surely catch the violence or any vulgarity and can be taken in any manner by him. So, parents must avoid taking their children to such films,” Mishra says.
There were similar scenes two months ago when the Varun Dhawan-starrer Badlapur released in Ludhiana. The 'A' rated movie contained violence and adult content.
Jaskaran Singh Sibia, a lawyer from Sangrur, however, says the problem is not endemic to Ludhiana alone.
“This culture is everywhere, not just in Ludhiana or Punjab but also in New Delhi...,” he says. “Parents need to wake up.”
U: Unrestricted viewing
U/A: Unrestricted viewing but parental discretion for children below 12 years of age
A: Only for Adults
S: For any special class of people
Source - Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)