In yet another kneejerk reaction to the aftermath of the shocking gang-rape in Delhi, the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has formulated a new set of rules that would probably make the film fraternity froth in indignation about excessive moral policing.
But from what one gathers, the CBFC won’t pay any heed to objections raised by filmmakers. The bottom line to the new censorship rules is: No violence against women. Period. Not even a slap between a quarreling couple.
Says a reliable source from the CBFC, “We have been given a free hand by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on how to tackle portrayal of women in films. Cinema needs to get more responsible. We will not allow any kind of violence against women. Even if there’s slap by a spouse it will be cut.”
The censorial axe will also fall heavily on songs and dances which are interpolated in films to titillate audiences. Henceforth these songs won’t be allowed to show the woman being surrounded by the male gaze. Adds the source from the CBFC, “We have no objection to aesthetically done songs and dances. But why show the woman being surrounded by dozens of lusting-leering-cheering men?”
The source from the censorboard admits that the scenario has changed beyond recognition. “There is a before-and-after affect happening in our society. There was violence and exploitation of the female before the Delhi rape. Now the circumstances have changed. And cinema won’t be allowed to turn a blind eye to those changed circumstances.”
Pankaja Thakur, CEO of CBFC, denies new censorship rules are being formulated, “There are no new censorship rules. The slap scene from the film Deewana does not have a fighting couple... Just a boy and a girl and it was a promo so nobody knows for sure how the girl is related to the boy. There is no such ban by the CBFC on the so-called item songs. Two such songs were cleared only two days ago in Zilla Ghaziabab. The CBFC is just cautious about depiction of violence on screen, and the context of the violence does matter. In a recent film, there is a scene of an old lady being pushed around by goons, which has been cleared only a day before.”
We recently got a Bengali film called Deewana to censor in which a husband slaps his wife during a quarrel. The director explained to us that couples do get violent with one another in real life. And also that in the film, the husband makes up with the wife in the next shot. But sorry, the slap goes. We won’t allow a single shot of violence, no matter what the context. Also, from now on, please keep the male chorus dancers away from the female form. No panting and lusting and certainly no touching of the heroine during these dances will be allowed.”-- Source from censor board
“I can’t believe the censor board would see violence against women out of context. I do believe we are going through very troubled times, and women being shown as objects is a big no-no. I see nothing wrong with item songs per se, as long as they are done tastefully.”
— Vikram Bhatt, director
“(Sarcastically) Great! So the violence in society is not because of law and order failure, faulty educational system, failed economy, or girls told from childhood that they are inferior to boys. It is because of films? This is ridiculous,”
— S Rajamouli, director
Movies sending out wrong signals? A majority, yes. It’s all about easy bucks, easy fame. This is not art. I am appalled as filmmaker. Every maker needs to be careful about what is shown. Even if there’s nudity in a film and if it is essential as it was in Bandit Queen then it’s permissible.
— Rakeysh Mehra (director)