Editor's note: Amid speculation over the end of his tenure as chief of the Central Bureau of Film Certification, Pahlaj Nihalani continues to do what he does best —
censoring Indian films willy nilly protecting the morals of the innocent movie-going public. While members of the Hindi film fraternity (including Aamir Khan) banded together on Wednesday, 2 August 2017, to ask for 'certification, not censorship', support for Nihalani came from another quarter — a tweet by MP and economist Subramaniam Swamy that exhorted the CBFC chief to 'keep at it'. What Swamy wants Nihalani to 'keep at' is the censoring of Bollywood and Tamil films that 'blindly ape... decadent West's mores regarding sex, justifying even stalking etc'. We found this too short a list of things for Nihalani to 'keep at'. So here's our list of recommendations for the 'censor' chief:
1. Cut out all and any references about the act of sex from any Indian film that reflects decadent Western mores.
Caveat: if the sex occurs between a married, heteronormative couple for the express purpose of procreation and the offspring that results from the union is essential to the plot, then it may be alluded to with a montage of carefully arranged flowers. In some instances, visuals of butterflies fluttering against the setting sun may also be allowed.
2. Cut out any scenes that depict a character drinking, smoking, using drugs.
Caveat: if a film *must* show a character indulging in any of these vices, then said character must be shown coming to a bad end. The same film must also include a character who abstains from all these vices, wins at the end, no doubt because he/she never smoked, drank or used drugs.
3. Create a standardised sanskari scale that will make the process of censorship that much more transparent. The members of the CBFC will be given a 20-point questionnaire (sample questions will include: does the film have cuss words, does it show women as independent sexual beings, does it include a character who drinks or smokes but does not come to a bad end, does it show characters who are not married engaging in sex, does it depict anything other than cisgender, heterosexual individuals — with simple Y/N answers that do not require any
thought interpretation) on the basis of which they can appraise where each film stands on the sanskari scale. If a film gets a score of 4 or lower, it will not be certified. Those scoring 5 or 6 can make necessary cuts improvements to their film to ensure the Revising Committee grants it a rating of 7 and passes it. All films that score a 7 on the sanskari scale are automatically passed.
4. In case of any disagreements regarding the sanskari rating to be given to any film, a meeting shall be convened with
Babuji veteran actor Alok Nath, and his decision will be final and binding.
5. Those films that promote Bharatiya sabhayata over decadent Western mores will be automatically granted a sanskari rating of 9+. Indian filmmakers will be encouraged to make such movies with the use of incentives like prime screening slots at theatres and GST waivers. They will also be leading contenders for the National Awards granted in any particular year.
6. No vulgar aping of Western mores will be allowed in Indian cinema. Only shuddh desi vulgarity will be passed. For instance: Allusions to maal gaadis that need dhakkas are perfectly in keeping with Indian culture and will therefore be passed. However, use of such blatant and crass words like 'intercourse' and 'virgin' will be met with a strict rating of 2 on the sanskari scale.
7. Similarly, with stalking. If the hero engages in stalking the heroine with her consent (consent will be signified by the heroine's not filing a police complaint) and is later balanced out in the film with a public service message — such as the importance of a Swachh Bharat and building of shauchalays — no cuts will be ordered. But if the stalking is purposeless and does not lead to a cleaner, greener India, then the filmmaker will have to make requisite cuts.
8. No film that has a character mentioning the phone number (even if made up) of any other character will be passed without a cut. If the characters are however, discussing Aadhar numbers, the scene may be passed.
9. For Western films: no onscreen kiss should be allowed to last for longer than absolutely necessary. From the moment the characters' lips touch, only
20 10 seconds should be allowed to pass until the visual is cut. Ancient research decrees that 30 seconds of exposure to Western mores is all a sabhya mind can take before it starts to get adversely affected.
10. Apart from this, regular conferences should be held on how Indian films could promote morality and culture-appropriate behaviour among the Indian masses. It is not enough to merely curb negative influences, we must actively promote positive role models through
moral science lessons our cinema. For the purpose of an impartial approach, Shyam Benegal should be kept away from these conferences. This should not be seen as a film censoring certification board overstepping its bounds.
Additional clauses to be considered at a future time: The abolishing of the current rating system could be looked into. Dividing the moviegoing audience on the basis of their ages is against our culture. Nana-nani to pota-poti, everyone should be able to watch every film made in India, together. Also, the Cinematographer's Act of 1952 is perhaps not the best fit for us. If there is a censorship law that dates back to the 1940s, it should be revived.
Pahlaj Nihalani, keep at it!
In our films, kissing and cussing are misfits,
Snip and censor until not a trace of West is left,
Indian sanskaars are the best!
Published Date: Aug 03, 2017 11:48 am | Updated Date: Aug 03, 2017 11:52 am