With the CBFC (Censor Board Of Film Certification) beeping out the word ‘Bombay’ from a new song sung by Mihir Joshi, the question that is disturbing the Mumbai film industry is, how far would the CBFC go into altering the city’s name in the popular arts to go by the name that Bombay got when the city’s name was officially changed to ‘Mumbai’ in 1995?
The filmmaker who should be most worried is Anurag Kashyap whose ‘Bombay Velvet‘ is around the corner.
Would Kashyap be compelled to change his title to ‘Mumbai Velvet’? The director recently took on the CBFC over the issue of inserting anti-smoking statutory warnings in his film Ugly. Kashyap had to finally relent and let the movie be released with the offensive anti-smoking warnings.
As far as the use of ‘Bombay’ in his film’s title is concerned the CBFC is very clear on the issue.
Speaking on the issue Pahlaj Nihalani the CBFC’s chairperson says, “This is a State matter. The Maharashtra government officially changed the name of ‘Bombay’ to ‘Mumbai’ in 1995. And still, if filmmakers and song-writers continue to use the unconstitutional name for the city, we’ve no choice but to delete it. The city is called Mumbai, not Bombay. People like Mihir Joshi who have probably grown up in the city should know this. Making films and writing songs are a social responsibility. You can’t change Geography and History just to sound trendy.”
However, Kashyap’s film may be the exception for the rule.
Explains Nihalani, “If a film is a period drama, if it is set during a time when Mumbai was called Bombay then we may consider retaining the old name for the city. However, in the contemporary context ‘Bombay’ won’t be allowed at all.”