For a censor board obsessed with the right length of on-screen kisses, Befikre should have been a trial. In the trailer of Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor’s film alone, the onscreen couple kisses a total of 12 times. There is also a striptease and we see Ranveer Singh in red underwear.
Reason enough to worry our sanskaari censors? Actually no. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has passed the trailer with U/A certificate. Surprised? All of us are! Given that the CBFC has been pulling all stops to sharpen its scissors every time the word kiss was mentioned (James Bond and his truncated Spectre kiss should know).
Don’t get us wrong. We are all for Ranveer and Vaani getting up, close and personal in the film. We are concerned with the ever-growing hypocrisy of our censor board and its chief Pahalaj Nihalani who has in the past cleared adult comedies like Mastizaade and Kya Kool Hain Hum 3, but created a big hue and cry against the content of Udta Punjab, the kiss in Spectre and using the images of Goddess Durga and Kali in Angry Indian Goddesses. Only Udta Punjab managed to escape but then that’s another story.
When we saw the first look of Befikre online, we saw the stuff Nihalani’s nightmares are made of. But contrary to perceptions, it faced no problem at the CBFC desk. Yes, we are as confused about the attitude of the censor board, as you are. If anything, the censor board chief is suitably impressed with the film and its intimate sequences.
“When we are strict with on-screen intimacy, people have a problem, when we let scenes of intimacy remain intact, people have a problem. The images in Befikre are not about the kisses alone. It’s about a whole lot of things, about love. The trailer shows kissing as a manifestation of love; it’s not there for titillation. All the kisses are in long shots. It’s only in close-ups that kissing on screen tends to look overblown. There is a difference between showing intimacy discreetly and getting so worked up about it that the camera becomes voyeuristic. As to why the CBFC has chosen to be liberal with the trailer, it’s because Aditya Chopra’s aesthetic sense makes the kissing look natural, and not vulgar at all,” Nihalani said in an interview to a website.
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Voila! Nihalani thinks Befikre’s trailer is about “manifestation of love”… Well, maybe. We are glad the Yash Raj film managed to get a clear certificate. But how far does such a decision of the board promise to depict a change in its attitude? Many have lost faith in its ways. And while the long battle between Nihalani and Bollywood continues, we can expect many more shocking certification from their end. But as of now, Befikre is likely to land at a theatre near you with all its kisses intact.