South Asia Censorship News

 2016: April-June

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 Updated: Film censor portrayed in bad light...

India's crazed censor under duress after his prolific scissorship was slapped down by the Bombay High Court


Link Here 22nd June 2016  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
udta punjabUdta Punjab is a 2016 India crime thriller by Abhishek Chaubey.
Starring Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor. BBFC link IMDb

What on earth can a rock star, a migrant laborer, a doctor and a cop possibly have in common? Simple, Punjab! 4 lives, 1 connection - 'Udta Punjab' takes you on a trip like never before. Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh play characters from different walks of life, fighting the menace of drugs in their own way. The film journeys into the artificial highs and the real lows that they face while treading the paths fraught with mortal dangers. But above all, Udta Punjab is about the famed Punjabi spirit, that despite being fully down, has the audacity of looking you in the eye and saying - Drugs di maa di!

India's crazed film censor, Pahlaj Nihalani, is under duress after his decision to make 89 puerile cuts to a film wound up the local film industry, and let to a court battle which ended up humiliating the censor.

The film, Udta Punjab , will now be released on Friday with an adults only 'A' rating and just one cut.

India's central Board of Film 'Classification' (CBFC) originally demanded 89 cuts. The film board claimed that the movie portrayed Punjab in a bad light. The proposed cuts included removing every mention of the word Punjab from the film, deleting swear words and also a number of other words such as parliament , legislators and elections .

Chief censor Nihalani saw the writing on the wall as the case proceeded to court and reduced the cuts list to 13, but this did not appease his opponents.

The court ruled that the film must be certified for release in the next 48 hours with one scene showing a character urinating to be removed.

The producers of the film described the ruling as a victory for democracy. The films makers challenged the censors claim that the film promoted illegal drug use and questioned the integrity of India. The court rejected the censors claims and said:

We have read the script in its entirety to see if the film encourages drugs. We do not find that the film questions the sovereignty or integrity of India by mentioning the names of cities, or referring to a state or by a signpost, the judge said.

Responding to the judgement Nihalani rued that from now on, CBFC was meaningless. He said doors for films with obscene, vulgar content are open now and questions have been raised on the working of the censor board. He said:

pahlaj-nihalaniIt is undoubtedly a good judgement for the producers. I have been a producer too, so I am glad everyone is relieved today. But the CBFC has lost its meaning today. As the chairman of the CBFC, I have come to know that the board is not here to censor movies . I just want to point out that when the name of the board was changed from 'censor' to 'certification', the 1952 cinematograph Act that it follows, and its rule book were not changed.

We were just following those, and doing our job and was only implementing the act that was framed for CBFC to function with full honesty. I had put in place a proper system. We were doing what was expected of us -- to ensure films are free of content that is unnecessarily abusive and defamatory. But from today, the producers are free to produce anything they want.

They will now have the liberty to have obscenity, vulgarity in their movies. It is an open world for them as anything and everything they make will be cleared with an A certificate.

The board has the option of appealing against the verdict in the Supreme Court.

Update: Film Certificate notes that the film was passed by the Mumbai High Court

16th June 2016. See  article from indianexpress.com

cbfc certificate for urda punjabThe India film censors of the CBFC have made a bit of censorship history by naming the judges as the presiding film censors responsible for the decision.

The certificate states: Passed by Hon'ble High Court, Mumbai. Share This Article Share Related Article

Mumbai Regional Officer Raju Vaidya, who has signed the certificate, said it was prepared as per norms. This is the norm; the name of whoever has cleared the film is on the certificate, he told The Indian Express .

However, a CBFC employee, who did not want to be named, said till date a film's certificate has never had to bear the name of judicial officers. It will carry names of the committee members present at the screening. And in this case, the judges anyway didn't watch the film. Other films rated after judicial intervention have not mentioned judges or the court on certificates.

Update: The BBFC take on the film

16th June 2016. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC have rated the film 15 uncut for strong language, violence, threat, drug misuse, drug references

Update: Pakistan too

20th June 2016.  See  article from hindustantimes.com

Pakistan flagAfter a trouble censorship process in India, it's now time for Udta Punjab to strugglewith Pakistan's film censors.

According to Fakhr-Alam, chairman of Censor Board Sindh, the film has been viewed by the Board and they have asked the distributor to make changes:

We have told the distributor to delete the bad language, swear words, which are extremely explicit and in direct conflict with the law and censor code. We will [then] review to see that the compliance has been adhered to and then issue a certificate.

Update: 100 cuts

20th June 2016. See  article from dnaindia.com

The Pakistani censor board has given a green signal to the release of Indian movie Udta Punjab in Pakistan after suggesting more than 100 cuts to remove objectionable and anti-Pakistan content from the film.

Update: Mohalla Assi banned too

25th June 2016. See article from indianexpress.com

mohalla assiThe censor board has banned it's own board member Dr. Chandraprakash Diwedi's highly controversial film Mohalla Assi , which pokes fun at the commercialisation of the holy city of Varanasi.

The entire film, which features some of the most risque lines heard in films in recent times, was also leaked on the Internet before its submission. The censor board decided to ban it completely. Apparently, the film evoked extreme reactions from some of the members within the censor board.

The story, based on the well-known novel by Hindi writer Kashinath Singh is a scathing critique on the changes that have come upon the holy town of Varanasi.

 

  Maintaining momentum against the Indian film censors...

Filmmakers protest against censor cuts to the film Kathakali


Link Here 21st June 2016
kathakaliThe Malayalam film Kathakali has fallen foul of the regional office of India's Central Board of Film Classificaton (CNFC) who claim that the movie contains nudity and strong language.

The Film Employees' Federation of Kerala (FEFKA), a body of Malayalam film directors and technicians, staged a protest on Monday in front of CBFC's regional office. FEFKA general secretary and B Unnikrishnan said the censor board was indulging in politics and added that they would move the high court against the board's decision:

The CBFC is treating filmmakers as if we have committed a grave sin.

The two-hour film on the life of a Kathakali artiste is directed by Sijo Kannanaikkal. Recently, the CBFC asked for three cuts to be sanctioned for a U rating (unrestricted public exhibition).

The board wants the removal of a scene in which the protagonist Dasan is undressed and beaten up and another towards the end in which Dasan removes the Kathakali attire and walks towards the Bharathapuzha river. It also wants the cuss words removed.

 

 Update: Escorted out of India...

Indian internet censors try a new angle


Link Here 14th June 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
jasmine escorts logoIndia's internet censors have demanded that local ISPs block 240 escort service websites.

The communications and IT ministry on Monday ordered the censorship of pinkysingh.com, jasmineescorts.com, onlyoneescorts.com, payalmalhotra.in, localescorts.in, pearlpatel.in, kavyajain.in, xmumbai.in, shimi.in and anchu.in.

About a year ago the government tried to block notable porn sites but it caused an uproar, and the government reversed its censorship. Escort services are not likely to be widely supported so no doubt the government will get its thin edge wedged in.

 

 Offsite Article: Outrage to success...


Link Here 6th June 2016
tanmay bhat The Streisand effect in India

See article from bbc.com

 

  Not Nice Guys at the CBFC...

Indian film censors ban Shane Black's The Nice Guys


Link Here 20th May 2016
nice guys The Nice Guys is a 2016 UK / USA action crime comedy by Shane Black.
Starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Angourie Rice. IMDb

A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.

The film was rejected by the CBFC's Examining Committee for containing too much nudity, profanity, and bloody violence.

The committee was particularly miffed with the film's opening sequence, which depicts nudity in the aftermath of a car-crash.

The film distributors will appeal the ban.

For comparison:
  • UK: Passed 15 uncut for strong violence, sex references, strong language.
  • US: Uncut and MPAA R rated for Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use.

 

  Losing Face...

Pakistan film censors on a banning roll


Link Here 1st May 2016
Poster Among the Believers 2015 Mohammed Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi Among the Believers is a 2015 Pakistan / USA war biography by Mohammed Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi.
Starring Fedor Alexandrovich. IMDb

Pakistan's film censors at the CBFC have banned the Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education (Face) Film Festival from screening Among the Believers.

In a letter, the vice chairman of the censor board, Adnan Akram Bajwa, described the award winning documentary Among the Believers as unsuitable for public exhibition. The letter reads:

It also contains dialogues, which project a negative image of Pakistan in the context of fighting the ongoing war against extremism and terrorism.

Promotional material

Controversial Pakistani cleric Maulana Aziz, linked to the Taliban, declares jihad against the government to impose sharia law. The government retaliates by destroying his seminary, killing his mother, brother, his only son and 150 students. The film follows charming yet menacing Maulana Aziz on his personal quest to create an Islamic utopia, which causes the country to implode. The Red Mosque has students allied with ISIL, and strong ties to the Taliban. We meet two Red Mosque students whose paths diverge: Talha, 12, leaves his moderate Muslim family to study to be a jihadi preacher. Zarina, also 12, escapes her madrassa and joins a normal school. Her education is threatened by frequent Taliban attacks on schools like her own. In December, 2014, the Taliban massacred 132 schoolchildren in Peshawar, outraging Pakistan's moderate majority. Aziz's longtime opponent, education reformer Pervez Hoodbhoy joins the re-energized anti-extremist movement. Throughout the film, he passionately ...

Besieged in Quetta

The festival was also not allowed to screen Besieged in Quetta , a film by independent filmmaker Asef Ali Mohammad which shed light on the plight of the city's Hazara population. The censor board claims the film promoted ethnicity and sectarianism (sic!) .

Produced by Hemal Trivedi and directed by Mohammad Ali Naqvi, the documentary follows the Lal Masjid and its network of seminaries, as well as two students, and contains comments from the controversial Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz.

Anam Abbas, the director of the film festival, said the documentary has already been screened in over a dozen countries, and has won multiple awards.

Poster Maalik 2016 Ashir Azeem Maalik is a 2016 Pakistan action thriller by Ashir Azeem.
Starring Ashir Azeem, Farhan Ally Agha and Sajid Hassan. IMDb

Three weeks after the Ashir Azeem directorial Maalik premiered at theatres across Pakistan, the federal information ministry has slapped a ban on the film.

According to a notification, the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, and National Heritage declared the film uncertified according to Section 9 of the Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979. A ministry official said:

The information ministry reserves the right to ban any film at any time. Maalik has been banned because it shows a former chief minister as a man of corruption and opulence.

Promotional material

An Afghan family that escapes from the ravages of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and settles in Karachi. A SSG officer who undergoes a personal tragedy and starts a private security company (Black Ops Pvt. Ltd) in Karachi. His SSG colleagues keep joining the company on their retirements. An idealist school master who suffers greatly under a cruel Feudal lord and settles in Karachi and finally the Feudal Lord who becomes the Chief Minister of Sindh and unleashes a reign of terror on all that cross his path. Maalik is a story of love, loyalty, honor, family value, idealism, courage and dignity against all odds, and across all sections of society from the poor and the struggling to the highest levels of wealth and power.

 

  Mumbai Sikhs recommend...

The Indian movie Santa Banta Pvt Ltd


Link Here 24th April 2016
Poster Santa Banta Pvt Ltd 2016 Akashdeep Santa Banta Pvt Ltd is a 2016 India comedy by Akashdeep.
Starring Tinnu Anand, Vir Das and Neha Dhupia. IMDb

Two friends and their sweet and endearing misadventures and one of these misadventures sees them land in the middle of a kidnapping investigation.

The Punjabi Cultural Heritage Board (PCHB) and the Maharshtra Sikh Association have launched protests against the release of the movie Santa Banta Pvt Ltd. , the two organisations successfully disrupted the screening of the movie in various cinema theatres around Mumbai.

Charan Singh Sapra, president, PCHB, claimed:

The movie hurts the religious and cultural sentiments of the Sikh community. The movie has also depicted a negative image of our community, with some dialogues also evoking aggression in people from our community. The chairman of the censor board should not be biased and we have appealed to the people to file a case under section 295(A) (deliberate acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting a religion) of the Indian Penal Code.

We have successfully stopped the screening of the movie at Chembur, Pune,Wadala, Sion, Dadar, Kurla, Vashi, Thane, Jabalpur, Nanded, Belapur and many more places across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. We have also filed a petition in the Bombay High Court to stop the screening altogether, and the next hearing for the same is on April 27.

 

 Update: India's senile censors...

CBFC bans the Hollywood comedy, Dirty Grandpa


Link Here 17th April 2016  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Dirty Grandpa Version Dirtier Blu ray Dirty Grandpa is a 2016 USA comedy by Dan Mazer.
Starring Robert De Niro, Julianne Hough and Zac Efron. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

India: Banned in March 2016

Dirty Grandpa has been rejected by the CBFC and the appeals Tribunal for its bold content. A source from the CBFC added:

We've placed a ban on Dirty Grandpa because this grandpa is dirtier than any 70-year old man has the right to be. In fact de Niro in this film makes Rishi Kapoorin Kapoor & Sons look like a saint. We wonder why an actor of De Niros caliber did such a foul-mouthed cheap film.

For comparison, in the UK,  the Unrated Extended Version was passed 15 uncut for strong sex references, strong nudity, drug use, strong language for:
  • 2016 Lions Gate [Extended + Theatrical Versions] RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon

Summary Notes

Right before his wedding, an uptight guy is tricked into driving his grandfather, a perverted former Army general, to Florida for spring break.

 

  Jungle drums and Chinese whispers...

Indian film censors get stick for giving a totally rational classification for the 2016 remake of the Jungle Book


Link Here 16th April 2016
jungle book 2016The Jungle Book is a 2016 USA family fantasy adventure by Jon Favreau.
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba and Bill Murray. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

Indian film censors seem to be getting a lot of stick for giving 'U/A' classification for the 2016 remake of the Jungle Book. The BBC reported on the news:

India's censor board has given Disney's Jungle Book a U/A certificate, meaning that children will not be able to watch the film without adult supervision.

However this appears to be bollox. According to the website of India's Central Board of Film Classification , the U/A certificate actually means:

Unrestricted Public Exhibition - but with a word of caution that Parental discretion required for children below 12 years

Perhaps such a rating would be called a PG-12 in US terms, but it is not a long way off the PG rating in the UK and US, which is exactly how the film was rated in these two countries

  • US: MPAA Rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril. (A US PG means some material may not be suitable for children).
     
  • UK: BBFC rated PG for mild threat (A UK PG film is suitable for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. A PG film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older).

 

 Update: Morality Dance...

Mumbai dance bars effectively re-banned by suffocating new legislation


Link Here 12th April 2016  full story: Bombay Dancing Girls Banned...Bombay ban dancing girls from bars
mumbai dance barThe Maharashtra Legislative Council has unanimously cleared the Bill to impose onerous conditions on dance bars in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra without any debate.

The Bill will now be introduced in the Assembly where it is likely to be passed without any opposition.

As per the draft bill, dance bars have not been totally banned but repressive conditions have been imposed to ensure that no owner comes forward to actually set up a dance bar. The conditions are:

  • All performances will have to be approved by the censor board for theatre performances.
  • Approximately five feet distance must be maintained between customers and dancers.
  • Performers cannot be touched by anyone and neither money nor gifts can be showered on them.
  • The stage will be isolated from customers by a three-foot wall.
  • liquor will not be served where the performance is on.
  • No more than four dancers can perform on a platform at a time.
  • A performance cannot be vulgar,  the bill does not specify the definition of vulgar.
  • All dancers should be 21 years old.
  • Dance bars cannot be opened in a residential area.

 

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