While Udta Punjab garners critical applause and commercial success since its release following a month-long battle between the film’s producers and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), two other Hindi films are still fighting for censor board’s nod. While one is titled Haraamkhor, Shlok Sharma’s directorial debut that has been produced by Guneet Monga, the other is director Neeraj Pandey’s Saat Uchakkey that has Manoj Bajpayee in the lead role.
Haraamkhor has been reportedly refused certification for its theme — it tells the story of a relationship between a teacher and a student. Saat Uchakkey, however, has been held up for use of cuss words. Bajpayee said the film is of humour genre where cuss words have been used to present the milieu of the characters.
“The film is set in Chandni Chowk in the early years of post-liberalisation era. It tells the story of seven friends who are trying to get rich overnight. They are a bunch of local buffoons,” explains Bajpayee, adding that “censorship” needs to be replaced by “certification” at the earliest.
Sharma, whose film was selected for screening at Mumbai Film Festival last year, said the film “is a sensitive portrayal of a tumultuous relationship with no titillating visuals”. “The theme is traditionally a taboo but it happens. At no point do we glorify it. And we tell the story from the innocent point of view of two young ten-year-old boys,” said Sharma.
Interestingly, one of CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s productions, Andaz, is based on the same theme. The makers of the two films have now approached Film Certification Appellate Tribunal and are hoping for a positive result. “We are glad that Saat Uchakkey does not have a release date yet, but we hope to release it as soon CBFC clears it,” said Bajpayee.
The CBFC has also come under fire for refusing a certificate to Malayalam film Kathakali. The Film Employees’ Federation of Kerala, a body of Malayalam film directors and technicians, staged a dharna Monday outside CBFC’s regional office in Thiruvananthapuram after the Sijo Kannanaikkal-directed film was refused a certificate on grounds of nudity.
The maker of the film, which is based on the life of a Kathakali dancer, has been asked to snip two scenes — one where the protagonist is beaten up in a state of undress and the other where he removes his clothes and walks into a river. The latter is the film’s climax. The CBFC officials have also asked them to edit out cuss words.