Pahlaj Nihalani, the chairman of the CBFC (our beloved Central Board of Film CERTIFICATION) has been the exact opposite of the prophesied savior of Indian cinema in terms of regulating the movies which are out there, vying for box office collections and critical acclaim.
Why I capitalized the term “Certification” in the 1st line is the main crux of the article; the semantic meaning of the word and its assessment + implementation by our lovely Mr. Nihalani.
So call this a vehement rant or a thorough critical analysis, I couldn’t care less because I as a citizen of this free state demands unregulated and uncensored media to be exhibited in my country.
The word certification pertains to the ambit of CERTIFYING movies which are watchable for certain age groups and that’s the basic job of CBFC. NOTHING MORE.
But what CBFC doesn’t understand is it’s ridiculously abusing its position by being the media’s moral police and actually chopping and editing movies so that they are fit to be viewed by all audiences.
Now, I seriously don’t get this f***-all concept of censorship in its absolute form.
And not only this, it paints an ugly picture of the audience as well.
Why? Let’s break it down:
The Indian millennial generation forms the largest viewing audience for any movie which releases, no matter the language of it.
Censoring and editing these movies only states that a statutory body such as CBFC actually believes that the people are dumb enough to not handle any explicit scenes in movies, mostly a scene where two people are intimate in a shot.
This further negates the post-modernist ideology of today’s generation that they can’t even question the concepts of a particular movie, its narrative or its director because:
a. The movie might be highly edited and released after a lot of cuts or,
b. The movie is banned and doesn’t even make it to the theaters in the first place because CULTURE IS THE BOTTOM LINE AND CBFC SAID SO (Please get the Stone Cold reference).
This, in turn, creates a volatile question:
“Is there even an existent Indian culture which the Censor Board is trying to preserve by editing movies, which are one of the few ways of visually expressing one’s creativity for open interpretation and judgment?”
Indulging into pragmatism would lead us to multiple examples such as the banning of kissing scene in the movie “Spectre” when our Lord and savior Mr. Nihalani hadn’t even watched the movie but essentially edited the scene based on the rumor of it being ” aggressively explicit”.
Now I might even buy that argument that hey, people might get the wrong idea about making out with a widow JUST after her husband’s FUNERAL based on the setting and narrative of that scene in the movie BUT THAT REALLY WASN’T THE REASON THAT THE SCENE WAS BANNED.
On watching the movie, I came to the obvious conclusion that it wasn’t even mildly explicit.
On the contrary, there was nothing wrong with movies like Great Grand Masti, Kya Kool Hain Hum 2 and 3, Mastizaade, Ragini MMS because these movies are harbingers of creativity and emphatic display of directorial skills (and cleavage).
Vilifying Pahlaj Nihalani or the CBFC isn’t my agenda for I as a citizen only demand media-oriented statutory bodies to stick to what they’re supposed to do and not try to unnecessarily safeguard (or pretend to) the so-called delicate and easily manipulated young minds of today’s youth.
Triggering a chain reaction where the youth constantly questions your decision as a hierarchical pinnacle is never a cool thing to initiate.
Stick to your job, allow the flow of thoughts, let the people see for what they judge as trash and culturally inappropriate, initiate debates, warn the directors and even put up as many warnings about smoking cigarettes as you want before the movie starts BUT DO NOT BAN MOVIES, DO NOT EDIT MOVIES AND DO NOT TELL ME YOU ARE DOING THIS TO PRESERVE OUR SO-CALLED CULTURE.
Trust your people to judge creativity in its raw form and get our head out of your gluteus maximus.
It’s a free world.
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