Central Board of Film Certification, as the name of the body suggests, is to certify films that are screened in India. But in recent times, it has been doing much more than that.
Censorship has become almost synonymous with the board with its archaic diktats on films in the recent years.
Not just cuts and beeping out of words, the board has also banned films for the most bizarre reasons. While Lipstick Under My Burkha is finally going to release next month, it was at first refused certification because it was too 'lady oriented' and because it showed their 'fantasy about life'. What also irked the CBFC about the film was reference to sex, abusive words and pornographic audio.
Nothing can rattle the censors in India more than sex. Anything related to sex it has a problem with, and it beeps out. It only likes films of sanskaar. Anything adult, as it were, is disliked by the board and is usually beeped out of films.
Most recently, its has expressed concern over the use of the word 'intercourse' in the trailer of Imtiaz Ali's Jab Harry Met Sejal. What is the problem with two consenting adults talking about intercourse? Do adults in the country not talk about it or do it in real life? Only the CBFC knows.
But if its history of censorship is anything to go by, censors in India have this great dislike for anything adult.
Here are some examples.
No 'Sambhog' In Hate Story 3
The Hindi word for sex or intercourse of course did not make it through the scissors of the CBFC. The word was replaced by the word milan which essentially means meeting or interaction. Because Indian adults apparently only meet each other, over coffee may be? And have no sex.
'Orgasm', 'Dildo', 'Sexy' Beeped Out In Angry Indian Goddesses
A film on women talking about people being sexy, using dildos and orgasming? Chi chi chi. How did filmmaker Pan Nalin even think the board would allow this? The film may have received standing ovation at international film festivals, but in India it only faced the CBFC's beep machine. The film did hit the screens and is now on Netflix, with enough beeps to induce a headache.
No Nudity, No Sex
When the CBFC could not let James Bond even kiss on screen, how did anyone think they would allow people to have sex on screen? The CBFC did not have a problem with people having live-in relationships on screen in OK Jaanu, but sex and pregnancy was a big no no. Why the audience would actually believe that a couple in a romantic relationship, living in the same house, will not have sex, only the CBFC knows.
Sudh Shakahari TV
Do you enjoy a good beef steak? You can't eat one in most states in India and on TV it becomes 'beep' steak. Because, as reported by Reuters, in India since Hindus consider cows sacred, the word beef cannot be used on TV. But what could be the problem with a fictional American character in an American TV show eating beef? Would Indian television sets shatter? Would our ears bleed?
Apparently, characters are not allowed to utter the word 'masturbation' on screen. Remember the list of 'cuss words' that the CBFC had banned in 2015? Masturbating was a part of that. Now how masturbation came to be an abusive word, the CBFC must explain to the world someday.
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