CBFC Chief Pahlaj Nihalani addressed the media yesterday, explaining the reasons behind denying a censor certificate to Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under my Burkha. “We only have objections to the content of the movie [sic]. The treatment given to the issue of ‘women empowerment’ was the reason we did not give this film a certificate. We gave the movie back to the filmmaker and said to show the picture to FCAT or the court,” he told ANI News, adding, “No one knows the process for certification of films, and CBFC will not work on any kind of pressure from media or social media. CBFC has the responsibility of certifying the films, and it also has guidelines which we all follow. If the movie is not according to the three ratings that we have, U, U/A or A, we can refuse that film.”
Nihalani also said that ‘it is futile to blame the CBFC as they were just doing their job”. “We see a total of 2500 films in a year, 82 percent of these movies were passed without even a single cut. From the remaining 18 percent of the movies, 2 percent have gone to revising committee, and then to the tribunal. If one movie, out of 2500 movies shown does not get a certificate, there is no point in making an issue.”
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 25, 2017
Support for the film has been pouring in, with several celebrities including politicians, speaking against CBFC’s tyrannical act of not issuing a certificate to a film.
— Milind Deora (@milinddeora) February 25, 2017
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) February 23, 2017
And i thought the Govt was moving away from censorship to certification! Not certifying is worse than censoring. https://t.co/vSrLTKkiM0
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 23, 2017
Usually when you see females in movies,they feel like they have these metallic structures around them, they are caged by male energy. -Björk https://t.co/AJrq5ucEot
— Jim Sarbh (@jimSarbh) February 25, 2017
Nihalani also added that supporting films with the theme of women empowerment is ‘fashionable’. “Have Sudhir Mishra, Farhan Akhtar and Kabir Khan seen Lipstick Under My Burkha? How can they jump into the controversy just because it is fashionable to support any film that talks about women’s empowerment? How genuine is this film’s feminism? They attack me calling me a maker of ‘B’ grade films, and listing vulgar songs that I’ve used in my films. But those songs are not even in my film. As for making ‘B’ grade films, why only ‘B’ grade? I may have made ‘C’ grade and ‘Z’ grade films too. That doesn’t give me the right to certify objectionable content in my capacity as the chairperson of the CBFC. I may have made films that I might have cut if they had come to me during my tenure as CBFC chief,” he’s quoted as saying in a DNA report.
Lipstick Under My Burkha was sent to the CBFC’s Revising Committee earlier this month. Following the screening, Alankrita was told that the committee had unanimously decided to not award the movie a censor certificate.
The CBFC had also recently refused to certify the Nawazzudin Siddiqui-Shweta Tripathi starrer Haraamkhor, which later managed to obtain a U/A certificate. The story revolved around a romantic relationship between a teacher and his student.
Last year, the CBFC ordered a total of 89 cuts for the Shahid Kapoor starrer Udta Punjab. After much controversy and legal wrangling, the film released with one cut.
Lipstick Under My Burkha is currently touring the festival circuit, and has already grabbed a couple of awards at international film festivals like the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality at the Mumbai Film Festival, and the Spirit of Asia Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Pic: Indian Express and ScoopWhoop