A leaked internal email sent by Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi, a filmmaker and member of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC), to chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani has once again highlighted the ongoing friction within the body and expressed disappointment over the cuts made in Anushka Sharma-starrer NH10, released on Friday, despite a collective decision to put on hold that infamous banned circular.
Below is the full text of the email sent by Dr Dwivedi:
Subject: Re: Agenda for 138th Board Meeting and Minutes of the 137th Board Meeting
The Hon. Chairman
( Since I do not have the e mail id of Chairman , I am writing this to the CEO with the hope that it will be forwarded to Hon. Chairman)
I am pained to write this e mail as I am in receipt of the list of "cuss words" asked to be deleted by CBFC to the producers of the film - NH 10,produced by Anushka Sharma and others. ( I am not pained for the deletion of the cuss words or decision of the CBFC but the violation of the trust of the board)
The said list was forwarded to me by a friend, through a SMS.
I do not wish to elaborate here the list as we all know the cuss words that were also circulated to Regional officers by office of the CBFC.
The "cuts" given also included words like Ghanta, Maadarjaat, Teri Maa ki , teri bhen Ki, kutti, etc.
I would like to recall here that in the 138th meeting of the board, it was resolved by the board that the circular issued by Hon.Chairman or office of the CBFC will not be implemented till there is a detailed discussion amongst the members of the board and the cross section of the society.
However the said circular in discussion was implemented and cuts were given regarding cuss words.
I am also informed that your goodself was the presiding officer for the revision committee.
I am not going into the merit of classification/certification or questioning the decision of the board here.
In my personal opinion,the spirit with which board tried to resolve the debatable (burning) issue is not taken into consideration and implementation of the circular ( cuts regarding cuss words) was against the collective decision of the board of CBFC.
I have attended three revision meetings and every time I return home with saddened heart as every time I come to know that the collective mandate ( or wisdom) of the board was not communicated to advisory panel.
I have started feeling uncomfortable of being a part of an esteemed institution where, collective decision of the board is ignored or collective voice is unheard.
I request your good office to call an urgent meeting of the board to address several uncomfortable issues which are bothering some of the members including me.
If not all, some of us have reasons to worry reading reports from the media regarding CBFC.Therefore an early meeting will put lot of unnecessary and uncomfortable questions to rest.
Hoping to hear from you soon
Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi
Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi is the director of historical TV series Chanakya and 2003 film Pinjar, starring Urmila Matondkar.
In earlier reports by PTI, Anushka Sharma, star and one of the producers of NH10, was quoted as saying, "The problem is that when you start working with so many parameters and restrictions, it is actually killing the scope of coming out with original ideas because you are already working within boundaries."
"I think it would be nice to have a rating system and not just cut things out of films. It should be left to the audience to decide what they want to watch. People have the option to walk out of the halls. I wish that kind of responsibility was given to us," she added.
Echoing her sentiments, filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane, also one of the producers of the film, had said, "It is disappointing when your vision is curbed."
Other reports showed how the issue has carved a deep divide within the CBFC itself, with board members Ashoke Pandit and Nandini Sardesai speaking out against Nihalani's actions.
“Films after films are becoming innocent victims of his mindless tyranny,” Pandit wrote on his Facebook page, while Sardesai, who has been a member of the board for six years, said there was a "complete fear psychosis" in the CBFC.
In recent times, the CBFC has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, such as blocking the release of Hollywood film Fifty Shades Of Grey, and muting the word 'lesbian' out of recent Bollywood release Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
"He (Nihalani) told me I was a liberal who allowed too many things," Sardesai was quoted as saying.
Is this the beginning of the end for Nihalani's turbulent reign at the Censor Board? All we can do is wait and watch.
(with inputs from Reuters and PTI)