The new censor policy: Getting away with filth in the name of liberalism?

While the Tribunal branch of the CBFC, has given Love Soniya’s abusive soundtrack a clean chit, a member of CBFC says the decision to upturn the Revising Committee decision could prove suicidal

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Subhash K Jha

The language used in Tabrez Noorani’s Love Sonia, a film that purports to blow the lid on child trafficking in India, is repellent to the point of rendering the rawness emasculated. It is meant to be the language of authenticity, but instead ends up showing reels and reams of repugnant sadism and torture.

But apparently director Tabrez Noorani who was part of another exploitative voyeuristic drama Slumdog Millionaire peddling porn-poverty, convinced the Indian censor board’s Tribunal to release Love Sonia in all its filthy glory.

Now, I have nothing against characters giving gaalis on screen, if the situation demands it. But when done repeatedly and insistently in tones that the defiance of a 6-year who will do su-su in the bed just to torment Mommy, knowing she will clean up next morning, then it’s time to think of the “G’ word…no, not glory, but gratuitous.

We all know prostitutes, now termed sex workers, lead hard lives. Films like BR Chopra’s Sadhana, Gulzar’s Mausam, Shyam Benegal’s Mandi and Lekh Tandon’s Doosri Sita have showed a genuine concern for the rehabilitation of sex workers.

In Love Sonia the verbal venom gets in the way of any sincerity on the director’s part making this the film with the maximum number of expletives meant to shock us. But after you hear the mother and sister’s private being publicly abused for the umpteenth time, shock turns into disgust. This kind of garbage-spewing in the name of authenticity is the oldest trick in the book to get dirty.

While the Tribunal branch of the CBFC, known to go notoriously against the decision of the CBFC’s Examining Committee and Revising Committee, has given Love Soniya’s abusive soundtrack a clean chit, a prominent member of CBFC says the decision to upturn the Revising Committee decision could prove suicidal.

“We at the CBFC asked for several verbal cuts in Love Sonia. There is a major difference between appropriate language and dirty language. Just because the women in Love Sonia are prostitutes they don’t have to keep reminding us of where they come from. We were totally opposed to the gutter-level language and suggested several cuts at points in the narrative the where Maa-Bahen profanities seem to impinge rather than enhance the plot and characters.But the Tribunal decided to be ‘liberal’. There is difference between being liberal and being foolhardy,” says a self-admittedly sickened member of the censor board.

A filmmaker who has recently come away with a taste of the CBFC’s newly-retrieved liberalism feels the new set-up at the CBFC is bending backwards to reverse the earlier censor chief’s over-sanskari image. “After Pahlaj Nihalani, Prasoon Joshi is eager to portray a new progressive image for the CBFC even if it means letting filth walk by his range of vision. Instead of focusing on letting filmmakers get away with profanities why doesn’t he try to ensure films are not certified at the eleventh hour?”

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