Ritesh Batra, who shot to global fame after the unprecedented international success of The Lunchbox, is struggling to get his next film, The Sense of an Ending, released in India.
The film, a FilmNation and BBC Films production, has top acting talent in Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, and Emily Mortimer, and premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It has already opened in US and UK cinemas to largely positive reviews.
However, the Indian Censor Board, or the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), has refused to clear the film with a U/A certification, which Batra and PVR (distributor) have sought.
The Board, according to sources, has a problem with the film's theme which it doesn't think is suitable for younger audience. It has conveyed to the makers that it'll grant an 'A' certificate and that too, after they cut 3 scenes out.
The film is an adaptation of Julian Barnes' Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name is essentially about a reclusive old man who's forced to confront ghosts of his past when a mysterious letter arrives from the mother of one of his girlfriends from his younger days.
Barring a few sexually suggestive scenes, there's ostensibly nothing about the film that warrants restricted viewing but going by the prudish record of the Board, it's no surprise that they have asked the makers to tone a few scenes down.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior Censor Board official told HuffPost, "We have asked them to cut 3 scenes. They are very minor in nature and don't really hamper the overall narrative. After that, we're ready to give it an 'A' certificate."
When pressed further on why the film needs to be given an 'A' certificate, the Board member said it's just how the Committee 'perceived' the film to be owing to its 'theme, parts of dialogue, and sexual depiction'.
HuffPost then reached out to CBFC chairperson, Pahlaj Nihalani, who said: "Unlike what you may think, I don't sit down and watch every film. Whatever the issue is, the producers are the best people to comment."
HuffPost also contacted PVR, who is distributing the film in India, but they are yet to comment on the issue.
Batra, who wasn't in India, only said that the makers are 'having a problem with the Censor Board', but refused to elaborate on the specific details.
However, a source from PVR told HuffPost that the makers are 'settling' for the cuts suggested by the Board and will accept the 'A' certificate.
"We're aiming to get the film out by April 28," the source said.
The film was originally set to release in the first week of March.
"We've conveyed our reservations with the film. Once we've verified the trimmed down version, we'll issue the certificate. But it all depends on whether the makers agree to it. If they don't, a release won't be possible unless they go to higher authority," the Censor Board source said.
Recently, the Censor Board refused to grant a certification to Alankrita Shrivastav's Lipstick Under My Burkha, for being too 'lady-oriented.'
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