Movie director Suparn Verma takes on the Censor Board.
Reader discretion advised: The following column contains language which is of an adult nature.
I am a free citizen of this country. I have the right to express myself in any form as long as I do not physically hurt another human being, animal or property.
I believe every human being has the right to live his/her life without interference or bias from anyone; it is their birthright.
Yet, I cannot watch a movie without a bunch of faceless strangers deleting words and scenes from the sensory experience. I write the following words as an expression of my freedom and demand my right.
F**k! C**t! D**k! B***s! S**t! M*********r! C*****a! G***u! L**d! C**t! (The *s have been inserted by Rediff editors.)
You just read it. Censored, yes, but you said it aloud in your mind. Words you sometimes use as verbs and adjectives. Now, look around you. Did you kill someone? Rape someone? Have sex with a dog?
Are you still the same person you were before you read these words?
If yes, how can you live knowing your life is being censored? Not because of your age, but because a group of faceless strangers decide what you, a grown adult, can watch and hear.
You are old enough to vote for a government into power, but the government censors the movies you watch. You are old enough to earn enough money to pay taxes that the government uses to live on. But you are a moron who cannot be allowed to see and hear words which may... destroy your and this society's moral fabric?
If not, then why did you have to pay Rs 250 -- out of which Rs 100 went to the government in taxes -- and come out from watching The Social Network screaming in anger when the last line of the movie, 'You are not an a*****e, Mark, you are just trying so hard to be' came out sounding like this: 'You are not an (sound goes low to no sound) Mark, you are just trying so hard to be.'
What the hell just happened?
Did mommy pull you outta the theatre for watching a morally shit film which made you a morally bankrupt, evil piece of shit if you heard the word?
All our lives, we been watching body shots and cuss words being beeped out in English films and now, in Hindi films, they won't allow use of words like nangi in a song in Dibakar Banerjee's Love Sex Aur Dhokha (see image top). Can that really happen?
They banned the word sexy from the song Sexy Mujhe Log Bole, which starred Karisma Kapoor in an Anu Malik number. Yet, the same Censor Board allows the word to be used years later when Amitabh Bachchan lovingly calls the cancer-ridden kid Sexy in Cheeni Kum!
Can that really happen?
They first s******d Shekhar Kapur for the language used in Bandit Queen, left, while the world celebrated the film. Later, it released with women's only shows and the like to full houses and the whole country saw the film.
Indian society still remained the same.
The day Phoolan Devi died, every cable channel screened the film and it was watched by under-age kids.
Indian society's fabric still remained the same.
What's funnier is that, unlike the law which refers to precedents when making a judgement, the Censor Board brushes aside precedents. Their rules aren't the same and keep changing from film to film.
They will allow Vishal Bhardwaj to use cuss words in Omkara, but not in Kaminey!
They will ban a Black Friday and a Paanch. Everyone who wanted to see Paanch downloaded it on Torrent, yet the drug use in this country is still the same, our economic growth hasn't been hampered, people are still paying taxes!
Who are these people who decide that bars and pubs have to shut down at midnight? A country that works like a dog day and night so that these babus can make millions in scams isn't given basic infrastructure which other countries take for granted, and yet they have the gall to dictate to us and tell us what to do and not to do?
They have no right to control us.
It is high time the audience redefined the role of the Censor Board to just one job -- to classify by age and that's it! The content of a book, a film or a painting is about expression; no one has the right to stop anyone.
Protest, scream and shout, rave and rant. That is your right. But to hold someone's hand and stop them is against our Constitutional right.
The world is changing. It's time the censors changed too!
India is a young, vibrant democratic nation; it is high time archaic laws like these were done away with.
We aren't living in a political Emergency. What these so-called moral brigades, who are hired political puppets, need to realise is that they are doing themselves as much disservice as they are to the nation.
The kids have grown up, it's time to let them go and explore the world.
And if you want to test your morality and yourself again, read the line at the beginning of this column!
You still there?
Warning! This column reflects the views of the writer and the writer only.