Adult content is not just in XXX movies

Friday, 25 August 2006 - 12:06am IST
According to the Censor Board, adult programming is any programming that features explicit sexual material or violence.

MUMBAI: Adult content on cable TV has become the topic of discussion at company water coolers, lunch rooms and people’s living rooms. Is it all about sex, lies and amateurishly shot XXX videos?

Or is it about raunchy item numbers with scantily clad women leaving little to the imagination? Or is it about Langda Tyagi spewing expletives every 30 seconds in between his paan pichkaris?

What constitutes adult content? According to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), also known as the Censor Board, adult programming is any
programming that features explicit sexual material or violence.

“Adult content also includes vulgarity, obscenity and scenes that are a threat to the integrity to the nation, and those which disturb the friendly peace between nations,” says Nandini Sardesai, board member.

But what about adult themes like bigamy, polygamy and live-in relationships? Should serials, documentaries, talk shows and movies based on these themes carry an adult tag? The Censor Board says no.

Such programmes do not need an ‘A’ certificate, unless they carry scenes of sex, violence and expletives. “We have no control on the theme of the movie,” explains Sardesai.

“We look at the whole picture in a holistic manner. We have to understand its cultural context. For example, in the movie Omkara, the use of expletives was essential for the setting of the movie. Hence it was issued an ‘A’ certificate. However, if the same words were said by a husband to his wife in a scene, we would have to edit it. Certification is highly subjective.”

Sindhu Ranka, a content writer, says that whenever people are confronted with the word “adult”, they invariably think it has something to do with sex. Very few think it is about adult themes.

She says, “A programme about extra marital affairs and a movie glorifying live-in relationships are also unsuitable for children.”

Pratibha Naithani, professor of St Xavier’s College, who single-handedly brought the cable operators to their knees this week for failing to implement the Bombay High Court directive to stop broadcasting ‘A’- certified movies, endorses Ranka’s viewpoint.

“Adult content also includes dialogues with double meanings,” she says. “It can be abuses, nudity, or anything that is unsuitable for minors.”

Even teens 18 years and older infer “adult content” to include make-believe love-making scenes and violence. Neha Shah, a student of Mithibai College, says, “My parents restricted me from watching shows that portrayed sex and violence until I came of age. But there were instances where I saw a programme that had dialogues with double meanings. Therefore, I feel that there is adult content even in dialogues.”

Some viewers believe the government has no authority to restrict access to adult content, at least for mature viewers.    “We should be allowed to exercise our freedom,” says Manasi Shah, a housewife.

“Both my children are married, and I have nothing to do at home. There are times when I want to watch a movie with my husband, and do not want to buy or rent a VCD. I enjoy watching adult movies and movies with adult themes.”

Some viewers like Nishi Agarwal say there are bigger worries like music videos and the internet that are giving her the headaches. 

“Movies sometimes are not that bad,” she says. “For me, music videos are my biggest concern. They are semi-porn and shown round the clock. The dances are obscene and vulgar. I cannot watch my children 24x7. To make it worse, TV is fast becoming redundant and the internet is throwing up more vices.”


Jump to comments

RELATED