Director miffed as National Award-winning film gets U/A certification despite cutting scenes

Filmmaker Onir’s National Award-winning film I Am has been denied telecast rights for Doordarshan.

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza | Published: July 5, 2012 3:56:13 am

Filmmaker Onir’s National Award-winning film I Am has been denied telecast rights for Doordarshan. The film,which he had submitted to Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for censor clearance,was given a U/A rating on Wednesday evening. The broadcasting rules of the country do not allow U/A films to be aired on Doordarshan,whereas other satellite channels can telecast it after 11 pm.

The movie,which won the Best Hindi Film award,deals with several controversial topics — homosexuality,child abuse,sperm donation and the Kashmir issue. However,the filmmaker claims he first edited out five minutes from the film and was given U/A certification. He then cut two additional minutes to obtain a ‘U’ rating,but was denied. “If talk shows can address these issues,why discriminate against a film that does the same?” Onir argued. “Satyamev Jayate airs on both Doordarshan and Star Plus at 11 am on Sundays,but I Am does not deserve to be aired on Doordarshan at all?”

Onir adds that as explanation for the decision,a CBFC official said the film deals with relationship between two men,which is “not normal”. “I told the official that what he is saying is discriminatory and against the law,and that he should give it to me in writing. But the official refused,saying the certification will only specify that the film is not fit for a U rating,” said Onir.

CBFC’s CEO Pankaja Thakur refused to comment.

In April,CBFC had courted a similar controversy when the TV premiere of The Dirty Picture,yet another National Award-winning film,was cancelled hours before it was to go on air. The incident allegedly followed a directive from the Information & Broadcasting Ministry that acted on PILs demanding that the film should not be aired.

“The government is giving out mixed messages. On one hand,they encourage independent filmmakers and honour us with awards. On the other,they certify our films as unfit for viewing by public,” said Onir.

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