CBFC Chief Pahlaj Nihalani has demanded 48 cuts in Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, despite the film receiving an A certificate. In order to talk about the same and the growing troubles created by Nihalani, many filmmakers along with Babumoshai Bandookbaaz team held a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday.
During the press conference, Nawazuddin was asked about his opinion on the cuts being demanded. Responding on the same, Nawaz said, “The situation is such that I have to count my words. There is no creative freedom. These words and language are important. The local flavour is important for the character and story growth. As an actor, I think if the film has a local flavour, it becomes global. My character is not polished, how can I not use abusive language?”
Nawazuddin’s co-star Bidita Bag said CBFC’s attitude is reminding her of grandparents who used to limit her freedom. “I am missing my grandparents a lot today. They used to tell me to do this or not do that. The CBFC is acting like grandparents. 70% Indians are adults. Why are we told what to do and what not to do? People can watch porn for free on the internet but people are told what to do when they spend money. Films are a slice of life. In real life, we make love. So, why can’t people show all that on screen?” said the actor.
Producer Kiran Shyam said she was threatened by Nihalani that he would not allow the release of the film if the makers decide to go against CBFC decision and appeal to FCAT. “Nihalani threatened the director that if he goes to FCAT, he will make sure the film is not released at all. Luckily we decided not to go to the revising committee and go to the tribunal directly because Nihalani threatened us that if we go to the revising committee he would add more cuts.” She added it was a shock for her to receive the demand of 48 cuts as the film was already given A certificate.
Alankrita Shrivastava, whose recent release Lipstick Under My Burkha was denied certification for being “lady oriented” and sexually explicit, also joined the press conference against CBFC. Alankrita, taking a stand against the censorship, said, “I feel censorship is not required. We are from a free and democratic country. We need to get rid of censorship. We will not be able to tell stories. I completely stand with this team. We have had a fight for Udta Punjab, Lipstick and now this. The problem never ends.”
Agreeing with Alankrita, Abhishek Chaubey recalled his fight against the certification board during the release of his filmUdta Punjab. “I have also had the same experience. The CBFC office created an environment of threat. Our films are being judged by people who force their personal liking. It is not just how they think, but also how they behave with us. We filmmakers are not here to ruin the society. So why are we treated like this?”
Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha pointed out why it is necessary to revisit the laws. He said, “Cinematograph Act was made in 1952. It is very vague and was also not made properly. I am depressed that this act will not be placed on the table of the house, as they don’t find it important.”
Producer Madhu Mantena said that with a body like CBFC, it is going to be hard for filmmakers to do business. “We invest and borrow so much to make a film. We made a film with Phantom and Balaji. We could afford to fight for our film, not everybody can do it! How are you supposed to make a film and conduct commerce in a place like this? We need people who are more cinema literate on the board.”