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2014: Oct-Dec

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Love, Laughter and Religion...

Religious campaigners in India and Pakistan take offence at a film titled PK

Link Here31st December 2014
PK is a 2014 India comedy romance by Rajkumar Hirani.
Starring Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Sanjay Dutt. Youtube link IMDb

A stranger in the city asks questions no one has asked before. Known only by his initials, P.K.'s innocent questions and childlike curiosity will take him on a journey of love, laughter and letting-go.

Hindu campaigners have been attacking PK, a recently released Indian film. Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad disrupted the screening of the film at several locations demanding that supposedly objectionable scenes insulting Hindu deities and rituals be censored from the film.

In Ahmedabad, protests went violent as over 50 Bajrang Dal activists stormed and vandalised two theaters, Shiv and City Gold Multiplex. Though the miscreants fled before the police arrived, sources said the activists have been identified through CCTV footage.

Religious campaigners burned posters outside Milan cinema in Surendranagar, where the film was being screened, and forced a shutdown of the movie hall for the day. In Rajkot, saffron activists hit the streets against the film.

In Bhopal, sangh parivar activists raised slogans against Aamir Khan and jostled with cops outside Jyoti Talkies in Bhopal. Bajrang Dal and VHP have given a 24-hour ultimatum to the film's producers for removing anti-Hindu scenes. VHP-Bajrang Dal spokesman for central India Devendra Rawat said:

It has become a habit with Bollywood to hurt the sentiments of Hindus. They insult our gods and show our spiritual gurus as villains. Why don't they make a film based on Imam Bukhari and his anti-national statements?

In Delhi, police said they had stepped up security around several theatres after violent protests at Rivoli cinema in Connaught Place on Sunday when religious campaigners had smashed the theatre's window panes.

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali has demanded that the Censor Board remove objectionable scenes so that communal harmony is not disturbed. He said:

If a film has material that hurts religious sentiments, especially when it has a Muslim actor playing a Hindu, it has the propensity to be misread.

The PK issue has also revealed that chief censor Leela Samson seems to be edged out of her job. She explained:

The ministry has not taken up the issue with me or other officials of CBFC. However, they have often chosen to bypass me and speak to officials appointed by them indicating their 'concern' about a particular film, she adds.

Samson minces no words while criticising the government, alleging that the former I&B minister Prakash Javadekar never kept his promise of allowing the board to appoint for its panels professionals who are well informed about sensitive issues. Panel members who view the films have a heavy dose of party people amongst them.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, a Hindu group named Hindu Kranti Dal had filed a complaint against PK before police commissioner of Jalandhar Yurinder Singh Hayer. Police watched PK with leaders and activists of Hindu Kranti Dal and ordered removed of scenes against which the Hindu outfit raised objections.

Hindu Kranti Dal leader Manoj Nanna said that makers of PK have disgraced Hindu god Shiv. He said that HKD want police action against PK director Raj Kumar Hirani and actor Aamir Khan.



The Messenger of God...

Indian film causes a little religious 'outrage'

Link Here22nd December 2014
MSG: The Messenger of God is a 2015 India action comedy drama by Jeetu Arora and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan.
Starring Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, Daniel Kaleb and Fllora Saini. Youtube link IMDb

Guru Ji is a social reformer who works to help people fight against social evils.

Various Sikh organisations are 'outraged' about Gurmeet Ram Rahim's debut movie MSG: Messenger of God, and are seeking a ban.

The All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) said that it will soon move the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a ban on the film. AISSF president Karnail Singh Peermohammad said even the film's teaser is controversial as it shows the dera chief challenging people (Sikhs) with his dialogue Jo hamse takrayega (who will try to confront me). He said:

We have demanded a complete ban on the screening of the film and have requested the censor board, Punjab government and the Akal Takht to take immediate steps to get the film banned across the world. We are also moving a case in the court seeking a ban on the controversial film.

We have even objected to the title of the film. God's envoy cannot be a criminal. He is facing rape and murder allegations.



Religious Censors...

Indian sikhs to set up a unilaterally imposed film censorship board to ensure that movies and books provide positive propaganda for the religion

Link Here14th December 2014
India Sikhs are attempting to unilaterally impose a new Sikh film censor board on Indian films to force them to portray the religion and its followers in a positive light.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will constitute a Sikh Censor Board to clear movies and books touching on the Sikh religion, history and culture. The board will ensure that films, books and entertainment provide positive propaganda for the religion. SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said,

The proposed board is aimed to ensure that the movies made in the future are in accordance with the Sikh 'rehat maryada' (code of conduct). The board will have 11 members, including Sikh intellectuals, historians and experts from various fields, film experts and lawyers.

Akal Takht Jathedar (High Priest) Gurbachan Singh said:

The SGPC was asked to constitute a censor board. Any movie or book related to Sikh history and culture has to be examined to avoid any controversies in the future.

However the unilateral imposition of religious censorship may not have any legal basis whatsoever.

Central Board of Film Classification (CBFC) member Chander Mukhi questioned the legal sanctity behind the proposed censor board by SGPC. He said:

What legal status do they have? Under which law will they enact this board? CBFC is enacted by the Parliament. Any other organisation will come up tomorrow and try to set its own censor board. We have different panels to watch the movies before they are released. The members are different every time. Any objectionable part in the film is cut down.

Makkar admitted that the board would have no legal sanctity:

Filmmakers who don't seek approval from the board would be responsible if there is any controversy. There have been instances in the past when films had to face strong protests.



Miserable Censors...

Indian cable TV company loses appeal against 10 day shut down imposed for jokes on comedy Central

Link Here26th November 2014
Back in 2012 Comedy Central was banned for ten days for airing supposedly obscene and vulgar words and being derogatory to women. The offending programmes were Stand Up Club and Popcorn.

The order issued by Delhi High court claimed that the programme showed a stand up comedian mouthing supposedly vulgar words accompanied by obscene and suggestive gestures and gyration.

Jokes during his performance supposedly denigrated women, indecently and crudely referred to sex organs of men-and women and the sing-song rendition by the man sought to pornographically describe male lust, whilst depicting women as a commodity of sex.

The broadcaster appealed against the censorship and the result has just been announced.

The court found no merit in Comedy Central's appeal, and dismissed it. The court also imposed INR20,000 costs and ordered the remaining six days of the channel's original ten-day ban should begin at 12.01am on 26 November 2014.




Update: Movie Spoilers...

India ends experiment with nagging pop-up warning during movie scenes showing alcohol

Link Here22nd November 2014
Pop-up warnings against alcohol consumption during a movie drinking scene might have started and ended with Happy New Year .

India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had asked for the health warning to be shown in every drinking scene before clearing the film for universal viewing.

Following sharp criticism of the move from within the film industry, board chairperson Leela Samson wrote to all the eight regional offices this month not to ask for such insertions in future releases, sources in the board said.

A senior board official who requested anonymity said: Our official stand is that this warning will not be applicable to future releases.

Filmmakers, already unhappy with the mandatory health warnings against tobacco, slammed the alcohol warning. These warnings are absurd and regressive, said Kalpana Lajmi, who directed Rudaali and Daman . Such warnings are distractions for viewers as cinema is a moving story and not a frozen frame.



Offsite Article: Banning Everything...

Link Here21st November 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
Detailed notes from Indian government meeting about implementing massive internet censorship

See article from



Update: Miserable in India...

Film censors now require invasive warning whenever alcohol appears on screen

Link Here28th October 2014

  Warning: May contain depictions of
people enjoying life

The Indian Censor Board has introduced anti-drinking warnings in scenes where actors are depicted consuming alcohol. The first Hindi film falling victim will be Happy New Year starring Shah Rukh Khan.

The Mumbai Mirror has learned the decision was taken by Rahul Vaidya, the new Regional Officer who took over after former CEO Rakesh Kumar was jailed on corruption charges. Sources said all future releases will have to follow the guidelines.

While such warnings are already mandatory in some states, the Kerala government, which used to run such warnings in Malayalam movies till recently, did away with the practice in August after a committee headed by the legendary Adoor Gopalakrishnan recommended that the warnings be shown before the movie and during the interval.

A CBFC official close to Vaidya on request of anonymity, defended the move. Vaidya and his team is simply following the guidelines. They are not doing anything arbitrarily. We warn people that smoking is injurious to health. Now we will do the same for drinking.



Dangerous Criticism...

Afghanistan newspaper sparks street protests for daring to criticise Islamic State terrorists

Link Here25th October 2014
A newspaper columnist condemning Islamic State and the Taliban triggered demonstrations in several Afghan cities on Friday, with protesters denouncing the article as blasphemous and calling on the government to punish the publication.

In Kabul, a crowd of approximately 500 people, including clerics and several members of parliament, gathered in front of the Eid Gah Mosque, the city's second largest house of worship. Religious leader Fazl Hadi Wazin said:

The government must stop the people who insulted the prophet, the Qur'an and Islam, and prevent them from leaving the country

In an opinion piece published last week in the English-language daily the Afghanistan Express, a journalist named AJ Ahwar admonished Muslims for remaining silent in the face of Islamic State and the Taliban. He also criticised Islam for not accepting other religions and minorities such as homosexuals and Hazaras, a Shia minority in Afghanistan.

The article ended by concluding that human beings are more important than God, which seemed to particularly incense protesters.



Update: A Sea of Troubles...

An Indian take on Hamlet set in Kashmir gets banned by Pakistan's film censor

Link Here18th October 2014
Full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion
Haider is a 2014 India crime romance by Vishal Bhardwaj.
Starring Shahid Kapoor, Tabu and Shraddha Kapoor. IMDb

Vishal Bhardwaj's adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', Haider - a young man returns home to Kashmir on receiving news of his father's disappearance. Not only does he learn that security forces have detained his father for harboring militants, but that his mother is in a relationship with his very own uncle. Intense drama follows between mother and son as both struggle to come to terms with news of his father's death. Soon Haider learns that his uncle is responsible for the gruesome murder, what follows is his journey to avenge his father's death.

Citing the film's sensitive content , Pakistan's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) decided against the release of the film in Pakistan. A CBFC employee told The Express Tribune that Haider's controversial topic and propagandist nature are the reasons for this.

A senior official at the CBFC maintained that the film's ban:

Has nothing to do with the ongoing tension between Pakistan and India. Any film that is on a controversial topic, such as the Kashmir issue, will most likely not be released in the country.

The film is against the ideology of Pakistan. We have a professional panel of reviewers that assesses films while keeping in mind factors that a layman can't understand. He stated that certain Hindi words used in a film may seem harmless to an average audience member, but can have adverse effects on our culture.

Distributor Amjad Rasheed commented on not pursuing censor clearance via a local censor board:

We realise the [gravity of the] situation at the Line of Control and if one board has refused to certify the film, then the wise thing to do is not to offer the film at all.

The film has also caused controversy in India. A court in the state of Uttar Pradesh is hearing a petition calling for the film to be banned on the grounds that it was against national interest.



Updated: Scenes Gone...

Indian film censors demand cuts from David Fincher's Gone Girl

Link Here8th October 2014
Gone Girl is a 2014 USA thriller by David Fincher.
Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris. BBFC link IMDb

Indian film censors at the CBFC have demanded cuts before the film can be theatrically released in India. A senior marketing official at the movie's local distributor, Fox Star Studios, explained:

The movie was submitted for censorship, and certain cuts were demanded. These suggestions have been sent to Fincher's team, and he will be sending his cut, which we will submit again to the censors. We are aiming for an October 24 release.

The adult-rated movie, which originally included scenes of nudity, sex and graphic violence, is an acclaimed adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling account of a husband's attempts to find his missing wife.

In the US the film was rated R uncut for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language.

In the UK the film was rated 18 uncut for strong bloody violence and very strong language.

Fincher's last film, an adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo , also feel foul of Indian film censors and ended up not getting a theatrical release.

Update: Cuts details

8th October 2014. See  article from

Based on Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel by the same name, Gone Girl features Ben Affleck as an out-of-work writer who becomes the main suspect when his wife, Rosamund Pike, goes missing. Neal Patrick Harris plays her obsessive ex-lover.

The CBFC has imposed five cuts editing out scenes of frontal nudity sex and violence.

One look at the reviews and you will know that all three of the stars have bared all. A shower scene, featuring Affleck in the nude, has become a talking-point with many online commentators, not too mention repressed film censors. A pivotal sex scene featuring Pike and Harris has also got the cut.

A CBFC official said:

There is too much nudity in the film. Scenes show bare breasts and usage of words like pussy and cunt. How can we allow such stuff to release in India?

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