If there was ever a man who could cut like a pro, it was Pahlaj Nihalani, the legendary chairman of the fabled Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Yes, this is a man whose scissors wield more might than Thor’s hammer. Angering this man with your lewd, inappropriate, un-sanskaari content is more dangerous than poking a sleeping dragon.
But sometimes, you do have to wonder – what the hell is Pahlaj smoking?
The man famous for beeping out random words and cutting anything even remotely objectionable is back again – and this time you can’t even make sense of a lot of cuts. In any scenario.
Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is not only one of the most acclaimed films of 2016; it has just walked away with 7 Golden Globe awards leaving us wondering why the film has been given an ‘Adults Only’ censor certificate in India.
Once again the chairperson of the censor board Pahlaj Nihalani is in the eye of storm. However this time he is ready with all his facts and figures. Explains Nihalani, “We were ready to grant La La Land a ‘UA’ certificate, but with a few verbal cuts where the ‘F’ word and other expletives were used, and a shot of the middle finger being shown. However the film’s producers Viacom 18 begged off, explaining that they could not afford to make the cuts required, as the budget allocated for his film was small. So we had no choice but to grant the film an ‘A’ certificate.”
Here it would be pertinent to say that the recent Hindi film Befikre not only had multiple kisses but also dialogues which referred to the heroine as a ‘slut’ and a ‘bitch’. It was granted a ‘UA’ certificate.
Says critic Raja Sen, “I think it’s tragic that our censors evidently think great cinema is too masterful for children to watch. There is nothing remotely inappropriate about the glorious La La Land — which is more than can be said about the CBFC.”