Central Board of Film Certification chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani has refused to allow the word 'intercourse' in Imtiaz Ali's next film, 'When Harry Met Sejal'. His understanding of India is largely based on what he recently told a film website — only a public that is above 36 years of age can decide whether an underage audience should listen to the word intercourse being spoken in a film, without self combusting, because, you know, to hell with basic biology knowledge for increasingly-connected young adults.
First he had told news channel Mirror Now, "If you take the voting from the public, I definitely promise you that I'll clear this word from the picture as well as the promo. You should take the voting from the public... 1 lac."
Since he posed the challenge to the news channel, they put out a Twitter poll asking people to vote. So far 84% people have said the word 'intercourse' should be allowed.
But on Tuesday he made a complete departure from his promise and has since put several caveats. He has now said to Spotboye.com, "Look, I don't want 1 lakh votes on Twitter. That won't be difficult to get. I want 1 lakh votes on the same channel whom I told that 1 lakh votes are required. Importantly, I will not settle for votes from unmarried people. And neither will I be satisfied if votes come from people who are less than 36-years old. Assuming that an average age when a man/woman gets married is 23, I think they would have a 12-year old child when they are 36. Hence I want the voting public to be at least 36-years-old. Only then I will feel that India has broadened its outlook and I shall recommend to the government that the word 'intercourse' should be included in Harry Met Sejal and any film hereafter."
Even as he tried to defend his point by adding the clauses, 83% of those voted on Mirror Now's Twitter page already disagreed with him.
Here's a quick look at his argument:
1. He Will Consider Votes Of People Above 36 years Of Age
Nihalani's argument that only people above 36 years of age can have the right to decide whether sex or intercourse is offensive to young audiences is problematic. People have the right to choose their government at the age of 18, it can be safely said that they can choose to decide what they want to see in a film.
Also, if the word intercourse in the film forces the CBFC to give the film an 'A' certificate, people above the age of 18 would watch the movie. And that means the people who do watch the movie have the right to say what they should watch.
People under 36 are building satellites, getting married, and building business empires, and but sure, 'intercourse' will totally decimate their value system.
2. He Doesn't Feel India Has A Broadened Outlook
It is probably time to break the news to Nihalani that Indian teenagers have sex before they turn 18.
In 2015, a survey had said that city teens were beginning to have sex at the age of 14. In any case, as puberty is moving earlier for both boys and girls, it is important that children hear the word 'intercourse', are counselled about safe sex and know that it's normal and healthy.
This kind of censorship makes sex a taboo subject, immediately alienating a lot of young adults.
3. Only Married People Can Vote?
Anyone who is in the audience should have the right to vote, even if Nihalani's demand for these votes is utterly ridiculous. If unmarried people are going to pay money to watch the film, they should jolly well have the right to vote. At a time when more and more single people are adopting, it's not only patronising but downright discriminatory to say that only married people know what's right for children.
Maybe it's time for Nihalani to broaden his own mind, instead of trying to ascertain whether 'India has broadened its outlook'. It is also time he realised it's not his job to teach Indian public sanskar. Certify films and let adults decide what they or their children should watch.
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