Does only censor board know how Lord Hanuman spoke?
In what must be a first even by the Indian censor board’s fussy standards, filmmaker Ruchi Narain’s Hanuman Da Damdaar—a tongue-in-cheek revisionist take on the legend of Hanuman, has been granted a ‘UA’ certificate with several verbal cuts. There is no precedent in Indian cinema of cuts or changes ordered by the censor board in any animation film or mythological drama.
Narain’s Hanuman Da Damdaar, which has Salman Khan lending his voice to Hanuman’s character, is caught in a peculiar situation.
So what gives, Mr Pahlaj Nihalani, we asked the censor board chief?
He replied, “Normally animation films, and that too one about a mythological theme would be passed without a hitch. But this film has lots of dialogue featuring children, which may offend religious sentiments.”
The filmmakers, meanwhile argue that what the censor chief terms offensive is nothing but an attempt to make the mythological figure of Hanuman accessible to younger audiences. The trailer of the film shows Hanuman saying, among other things, ‘Hata Sawan ki ghata, it’s time for my katha.’
Reasons Nihalani, “That may be so. But the trendy language applied to religious characters may not be taken in the right spirit by everyone. We have to be very careful about religious content. Yes,we’ve cut quite a few of the dialogues. But better safe than sorry.” Reminding that a ‘UA’ certificate has been given, he adds, “Children can come and watch the film with their parents. Problem kya hai?”
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