Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the maai–baap of Bollywood films has been in the news for all possible reasons, especially after Mr. Pahlaj Nihalani became the Chairperson of the Board on January 21 in 2015. All the popular faces who were once proud of being the controversy king/queen of the country have an idol now, who is only being pro-Indian-culture, "sticking to the rule book" and getting all the limelight. It will not be wrong to say that PaNi probably seconds NaMo in terms of being on news.
We are all aware of the fact that CBFC cannot really ban a film. But they can obviously suggest cuts in dialogues, scenes, story or the entire film maybe, because an A-certificate and a disclaimer cannot make only mature audiences watch the film across our country. India is just too diverse for narrow minds to understand everything and hence CBFC takes charge that a movie doesn't hurt any religious or cultural sentiments.
Recently, CBFC was in news for the objections the board raised towards the TV screening of Danish Girl, a British-American biographical romantic drama. The film was banned due to cultural reasons and a subject that is not safe for viewing by children and Indians alike. As sources from CBFC has quoted, "The subject is sensitive and how do you edit a subject like that?".
And there have been many instances when they have gone a step ahead to save the religious beliefs of the Hindus. Take the example of Anushka Sharma's Phillauri that released last week. There's a scene where Suraj Sharma is in the bathtub reciting something to get rid of the ghost Shashi. You can't hear what he is reciting clearly because it was the CFBC's decision.The character was reciting the Hanuman Chalisa which failed to get rid of the ghost. CBFC thought this might hurt religious beliefs of the Hindus and that it would be wrong to show a ghost not fearing the Hanuman Chalisa. They, hence suggested either to cut the scene or mute it. Well, sigh!
And we must admit that the CBFC's board is totally unbiased when it comes to a film certification and their biggest priority is that a film shouldn't scare the viewers. Hence, they gave last year's The Jungle Book a U/A certification because a roaring tiger (which they will never see in real life, because, well, how many remain now?) and other animals fighting may make them afraid of animals or they might get scared and start crying while watching the movie. Fair enough. But, that's not all, they also gave Befikre a U/A certificate because sex education is a must for kids and it should be done under adult supervision only.
Remember last year? It was Justice S C Dharmadhikari who made little or no sense while defending Udta Punjab for all those cuts suggested by CBFC, right? After all, the Board had only suggested around 90 cuts and the rest of the movie was just fine. And after the film was leaked on the internet, how did it even matter? CFBC is only thinking about the good of the audience. And that's okay.
There have been many movies that intend to promote violence ( **Cough** Anurag Kashyap movies **Cough**) and indecency, which have been banned, only for the good of the viewers and innocent minds. While Paanch (unreleased), Unfreedom (2014), The Pink Mirror (2003) were simply banned and Ka Bodyscapes (2016) was denied certification, Gangs of Wasseypur was released with an A-certificate. There are also films like Lipstick Under My Burkha that has been denied a certificate, but only because ''contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography''. While audio pornography should be banned, films like Kya Kool Hain Hum (2016) and Mastizaade (2016) were given a green flag because empty theaters have been educating many and since years.
From all the above details, we can safely concur that CBFC is just trying to protect our innocent minds from getting polluted and our religious sentiments from getting hurt. They are also helping us realize the sins of a sexual orientation not certified decent by the society.
So, what's CBFC's idea of a good film? Pretty easy.
An average story + innuendos + kissing scenes + foreign locations + a big production house – Good to go.
A realistic hard-hitting plot + some abusive language + real locations + violence + Anurag Kashyap Films – No.
A film that starts with a certificate, shows the Anti-Smoking video and ends – Certified as A because smoking kills.
Thumbnail created by Utsav Patel.