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‘Censor Board Needs To Contribute Towards Changing Mindsets’

The word ‘sex’ or anything to do with sexual desires is considered a taboo in the country, and thus it automatically sums up as being ‘bad’.

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‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ which is facing a lot of issues with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), is finally releasing in India on 21 July, 2017. This is one of those films which even after earning its name overseas and winning several accolades couldn’t be released in the country. The Board refused to certify the film due to its ‘lady oriented’ content, ‘abusive words’, ‘sexual scenes’ and ‘audio pornography’.

The film revolves around four women who are being told to suppress their sexuality. The film finally is going to release with an ‘A’ certificate with “voluntary and some other cuts and deletions”. The filmmakers were also asked to reduce the duration of sex scenes. But why? It is a movie that is necessary for the people of India to watch and encourage other such stories to be showcased for the audiences.

The word ‘sex’ or anything to do with sexual desires is considered a taboo in the country, and thus it automatically sums up as being ‘bad’.

Recently, ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ ran into a whole lot of trouble with the Censor Board because of the use of word ‘intercourse’ in its second mini trailer. In an interview to Mirror Now, Pahlaj Nihalani said, “You take voting from the public and I will clear the word (intercourse) on the promo and the film also. I want 1 lakh votes and I want to see that India has changed and Indian families want their 12 year old kids to understand the meaning of this word.”

The above mentioned channel managed to garner the required amount of votes.

Similarly in case of ‘Udta Punjab’, that dealt with the state's growing drug problem, the producers were asked to make 94 effective cuts in the movie along with deleting the names of the cities and where a signboard said Punjab. The Censor Board also objected to use of abusive words along with terms like MP, MLA and Parliament to be deleted from the film. The makers were also asked to remove the close up shots of people injecting themselves with drugs.

Deepa Mehta’s critically acclaimed movie, ‘Fire’(1996) was banned in the country because it dealt with a lesbian relationship between two sisters in law in a Hindu family. Another Deepa Mehta’s movie, ‘Water’(2005) also ran into a lot of controversy as the movie dealt with issues like ostracism and misogyny. ‘Unfreedom’ (2015) is another example of a movie that ran into trouble with the Censor Board and was eventually denied release in India, except a few states.

So what does this tell us? That India is changing, movies that encourage such stories, should be encouraged. That there is a difference between sexual desire and sexual assault and it needs to be acknowledged. Movies have the power to influence the public for the better and the concerned authorities need to put it to good use.