In the language of GOOGLE Baba, Censorship means the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films news e.t.c that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable or a threat to security.
Censor Board Of India
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) aka Censor Board work is to command the directors and producer of films to remove anything which is offensive, obscene or subject considered to be politically disruptive. The Censor Board awards the following four kinds of certifications to the films post review. U (for universal viewing); PG (for parental guidance); S (for special people like doctors and scientist); A (for Indian adult audience).
The debate of censorship in India has ongoing on for many years. Though in most cases the censorship of a film revolved around sensuality, sexuality, nudity and gratification. Since, the theatres can only publicly exhibit a film in India after earning the certification by the CBFC, the film makers and the general public have often questioned CBFC’s decisions. This has become a debatable topic. But the top brass of the CBFC often forgets that its actual job is to certify the films. CBFC is supposed to rate the films according to the age group based on the mindset of the Indian audience. At least that is what we perceive from the full form of CBFC.
Censorship On Films
Being mass media, the film Industry has a big impact upon its audience. The influence of films in our society is duplex. Society reverberates in films and in return films influence society. India is the largest producer of films in the world with an annual production of about 1600 to 2000 films. India is a democratic country; in fact the largest democracy in the world and censorship has no space in a mature democracy. In a country where Government is hell-bent to regulate our life, regulating cinema is not a big issue.
According to Article 19 (1) (a) of the constitution of India guarantees “the freedom of thought and expression” to its every citizen. But the question is, till what extent? The recent controversies over films like Padmavat And Lipstick Under My Burkha questions censor board of India, and the limits on the said word FREEDOM.
CBFC And Its Recent Controversies
There is a valid reason why we refer to CBFC as the controversy’s favourite child. It has been associated with unlimited amounts of scandals.
In 2015, many Indians, especially the younger generation took to Social Media to criticized the Censor Board for minimizing two kissing scenes in the Hollywood film SPECTRE. According to them it is against our sanskar. The irony is the Censor Board cleared films like sleaze fest Mastizaade.
In 2016 Udta Punjab was another Bollywood film which became the prey of CBFC. According to CBFC the film was too vulgar for the general audience and mandated the producers to make 89 cuts to the film. Later the Bombay High Court cleared it with just one cut.
In 2017, the Censor Board banned the film Lipstick Under My Burkha as it was too lady oriented. What the heck is even that? In India, many often treat women as an object and Bollywood is no stranger to this. It is cool for a woman to belong to a certain male whether she says yes or no,. But it’s a crime in the world for women to have their own sexual desires and to follow their own dreams. And we talk about Women EMPOWERMENT!!
The thing is even after 70 years of Independence we still does not have the proper freedom of speech and expression as our fundamental rights. Therefore, it is true that censorship reflect’s a society’s lack of confidence in itself.
Edited by: Himesh Saraf