After Jab Harry Met Sejal, Tamil film Oru Pakka Kathai's certification stalled over use of word 'intercourse'
The certification and release of a Tamil film titled Oru Pakka Kathai has been stalled due to deliberations over the use of the word 'intercourse', reports Times of India.
The makers of this Tamil film say that they applied for certification in March, but the actual screening happened in April, which is when they received a 'U/A' rating. Because they felt that the film must have a 'U' rating so that teenagers can watch it, they applied to the revising committee, who apparently saw the film at the end of June.
"They [executive committee] praised our film and suggested a couple of cuts, but gave us the 'U' certificate. And they did not have any objection to the word intercourse. But the regional censor board is refusing to give us the certificate saying they need to clarify with Mumbai on the use of the word. And they have already delayed it for more than a month without providing any definite answer," said the film's producer KS Srinivasan.
Oru Pakka Kathai tells the story of a medical complication that arises in a girl's life after she gets pregnant. The makers said that the word 'intercourse' is uttered in the film when a girl is asked about her medical history by a doctor, implying that it is not used in a 'vulgar' or 'obscene' manner. They also assert that the film has no adult content and no scenes depicting smoking or drinking.
Regional Officer M Mathialagan told Times of India that his board follows guidelines and must exercise uniformity when it comes to evaluations. "The regional officer can issue the certificate only after the reports are vetted by the chairman. We have submitted our reports to our head office in Mumbai, and presently, the file is not on my desk. We are pursuing the matter, but since they are dealing with nine centres, it is taking some time," he explained.
Recently, Jab Harry Met Sejal starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma was embroiled in a similar controversy involving the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) over the use of the word 'intercourse' in one of its mini trails. Chairman Pahlaj Nihalani said that he would allow the word to remain in the film if signatures were sought from the public in support of such a decision. When this was achieved, he refused to address questions from reporters of a news channel. Eventually, the word was dropped from the film.
On the other hand is the case of a Bengali film based on the story of the hanging of a convict found guilty of murder and rape titled Dhananjoy. While it can be argued that the word was passed because the film has been given an 'A' rating as opposed to JHMS and OPK, there appears to be another reason why this decision was taken.
A source from the CBFC speaking to The Quint said, "There is a difference between the way “intercourse” was used in Imtiaz Ali’s film and in Dhananjoy. Here words like 'sex' ,'intercourse' and 'semen' are part of the legal jargon that is used in the court case. We can’t touch what the law has to say. We’ve allowed all the graphic sexual references in the court scenes."