South Asia Censorship News

 2017: Jan-March



 Update: Ban happy chief censor...

Indian film censor bans 77 films in a year


Link Here 19th March 2017  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
nice guys India's crazed film censor, Pahlaj Nihalani, has overseen the banning of 77 films in a 12 month period of 2015-16.

The CBFC banned 77 films in 2015-16, as against 47 films in 2014-15 and 23 films the year before that, clearly indicating a rise when under the governance of Pahlaj Nihalani.

Filmmakers are justifiably unimpressed. Increasing numbers of filmmakers raising their voices against the chief censor, noting that he has been imposing archaic laws on their films.

 

 Update: Censorship via blasphemy...

Pakistan is getting heavy with internet giants who refuse to censor content that Pakistan does not like


Link Here 17th March 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Pakistan flagPakistani has threatened to ban social media networks if they failed to censor content considered insulting to Islam. The government's Fderal Investigation Agency (FIA) is also in talks with Interpol to identify supposedly blasphemous content.

The FIA has sent a formal request to Facebook but the company's management has yet to respond. Pakistan's interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan urged Facebook to comply:

I hope that the management of Facebook will respect the religious sentiments of 200 million Pakistanis and tens of millions of users of Facebook in Pakistan and will cooperate in that regard.

These requests come after the Islamabad high court ordered the government to start an investigation into online blasphemy and threatened to ban social media networks if they failed to censor content deemed insulting to Islam, lawyers told AFP.

 

  Hot under the collar...

Indian film censors criticised by Amnesty International for their anti-gay ban of Lipstick Under My Burkha


Link Here 9th March 2017
Poster Lipstick Under My Burkha 2016 Alankrita Shrivastava Lipstick Under My Burkha is a 2016 India drama by Alankrita Shrivastava.
Starring Shashank Arora, Plabita Borthakur and Sonal Jha. IMDb

Set in the crowded by-lanes of small town India, Lipstick Under My Burkha chronicles the secret lives of four women in search of a little freedom. Though stifled and trapped in their worlds, these four women claim their desires through small acts of courage and stealthy rebellion.

Lipstick Under My Burkha has been deemed too lady oriented in content by the Indian film censors from the CBFC. The board banned the film complaining about continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a sensitive touch about one particular section of society.

But this is also a film that won a gender equality award at the Mumbai film fest last year, and recently won the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival.  The film will now be the opening movie at the 15th edition of Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA). The festival will be held from April 5-9 in Los Angeles.

Amnesty International India have now criticised the censors asking them not to indulge in moral policing . Commenting on the bans of Lipstick Under My Burkha and the gay film Ka Bodyscapes, Amnesty said:

The recent denial of theatrical release to two films because they deal with women's sexuality and same-sex relations amounts to open censorship of artistic expression.

 

 Update: No Darker...

Indian film censors of the CBFC ban Fifty Shades Darker


Link Here 8th March 2017  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style
Fifty Shades Darker Unmasked Edition DVD + Digital Copy DVD Fifty Shades Darker is a 2017 USA romance by James Foley.
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and Bella Heathcote. BBFC link IMDb

The Theatrical Version is 18 rated in the UK and R rated in the US, but was banned in India. An Unrated Unmasked version will be released on home video.

India: Banned in March 2017

Banned by the CBFC. The film censors nominally noted that the film could be released with all the sex scenes removed but this option was not accepted by the distributors Universal, so the film remains banned.

UK: The Theatrical Version was passed 18 uncut for strong sex.

US: The Theatrical Version was rated R for strong erotic sexual content, some graphic nudity, and language.

Summary Notes

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.

 

 Update: Derogatory censorship...

India's film censors re-affirm their ban of the gay film Ka Bodyscapes.


Link Here 8th March 2017  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Poster Ka Bodyscapes 2016 Jayan Cherian Ka Bodyscapes is a 2016 India / USA gay drama by Jayan Cherian.
Starring Adhithi, Tinto Arayani and Arundhathi. IMDb

Three young people, Haris, a gay painter; Vishnu, a rural kabaddi player and their friend Sia, an activist who refuse to conform to dominant norms of femininity, struggle to find space and happiness in a conservative Indian City.

Ka Bodyscapes was originally banned by the Indian film censors of the CBFC in July 2016.

The distributors challenged the ban in court resulting in a September 2016 court order for the censors to explain their ban and to consider possible cuts instead.

But the CBFC decided to appeal against the court order and re-affirmed their ban in March 2017. A 2nd Revising Committee from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has refused to certify the Malayalam film Ka Bodyscapes, saying it glorified the subject of gay and homosexual relationship and portrayed the Hindu religion in a derogatory manner by showing Hanuman in poor light as gay . It also objected to the portrayal of a Muslim woman masturbating.

 

  Is it politically correct to censor the language of the American African community?...

Moonlight has been significantly cut by the Indian film censors for an Adults only 'A' rating


Link Here 16th February 2017
Poster Moonlight 2016 Barry Jenkins Moonlight is a 2016 USA drama by Barry Jenkins.
Starring Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp and Duan Sanderson. BBFC link IMDb

Three time periods - young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult - in the life of black-American Chiron is presented.

The Indian film censors of the CBFC have cut the film for Indian cinema release. Two sex scenes have been excised and strong language has been cut for an adults only 'A' rating. For comparison the BBFC passed the film 15 uncut for strong language, sex, sex references, drugs misuse

Further details of the cuts are as follows:

[ Spoilers! hover or click text ]
 
The BBFC provide a good description of the sex scenes and strong language in the BBFC Insight:

There is occasional use of strong language ('fuck', motherfucker'), and frequent racial language ('nigga') used informally between black characters. There is also use of homophobic language in a scene in which an adult explains to a young boy that 'faggot is an offensive term.

Scenes of sexual activity include implied masturbation and penetration, and in one scene a character wakes up following a wet dream . Strong verbal references are made to oral sex and intercourse.

Meanwhile the CBFC cut entirely two of the film's love-making sequences, one homosexual and the other heterosexua

Noting that gay sex cannot be shown in an Indian film since homosexuality is still not legalised, the cuts to the sensitively designed sequence showing the film's young teenage protagonist gets a hand-job from his best friend, seems a bit harsh. A source said:

The censor board has ordered the entire hand-job to go. We only hear the protagonist say he is sorry for what happened. Indian audiences will not get what he's feeling sorry for.

Also, ordered out of the film is a dream sequence showing the protagonist's best friend making out with a girl.

Besides these two cuts the soundtrack has been cleared of all expletives included bitch , dick , fuck and motherfucker .

The source added:

The CBFC has done a sanskari job [seems to mean politically correct cleanup] on the language of the American African community.

 

  Don't mention the Kashmir...

Pakistan film censors ban another Indian Movie, Jolly LLB 2


Link Here 14th February 2017
Poster Jolly Llb 2 2017 Subhash Kapoor Jolly LLB 2 is a 2017 India comedy drama by Subhash Kapoor.
Starring Sudhanva Deshpande, Avijit Dutt and Nikhil Dwivedi. IMDb

Jolly is a clumsy lawyer who is faced with representing the most critical court case of his career.

Pakistan has banned its second Indian movie in a week. After banning Raees last week, this week the censors have banned Jolly LLB 2.

The reason is put down to a policy rule to ban all Indian films referencing Kashmir, a region with a long history of dispute between India and Pakistan.

For a totally different reason, the film was cut for violence in the UK so that it would qualify for a BBFC 12A rating for cinema release.

 

  Wrong type of baddies...

Pakistan bans Indian action film Raees for its depiction of muslim terrorists


Link Here 7th February 2017
raees Raees is a 2017 India action crime thriller by Rahul Dholakia.
Starring Sunny Leone, Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. BBFC link IMDb

BBFC category cuts were required for a 12A rated 2017 cinema release. The film was banned in Pakistan.

Pakistan: Banned in February 2017

The film was banned in Pakistan due to its objectionable content. A source from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) said:

Owing to subtle portrayal of Muslims as violent criminals and terrorists, the recommendations forwarded by the CBFC panel deemed the film is unsuitable for public screening.

We could not issue a certificate because the film portrays Islam and a particular Muslim sect in negative light.

Summary Notes

The film is set in the early 80's and 90's in Gujarat. The fictitious story of a man who builds an empire in the state of Gujarat, the only state that still follows prohibition. It's a story about his rise and his relationships, which help him become the single most powerful man in the state.

Update: A little more about the background for the ban

10th February 2017 See  article from breitbart.com

The problem, as FirstPost explains, is that Raees tells the true story of a Muslim in the 1980s who indulges in the trade of liquor. The movie was deemed insulting to Islam because it subtly portrays Muslims as criminals, violent terrorists, wanted men, and gangsters.

In other words, it is an action film about a bootlegger who was a Muslim. The real-life individual who inspired the film became a Robin Hood-style folk hero and grew influential in politics.

 

  Based on fake historical facts...

Indian film censors do a bit of fact checking and ask film makers to remove a promotional claim


Link Here 4th February 2017
the ghazi attackThe Ghazi Attack is a 2017 India war historical thriller by Sankalp Reddy.
Starring Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon and Atul Kulkarni. IMDb

A Pakistani submarine vanishes under mysterious circumstances.

The Ghazi Attack, claimed to be based on the sinking of a submarine during the 1971 Indo-Pak war under mysterious circumstances, has been instructed by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to remove it's opening titles claiming that the film is based on historical facts and add a disclaimer that it is partly fictional and partly authentic.

A source from CBFC informed a newspaper that there is no comprehensive evidence that the incident detailed in The Ghazi Attack has any actual historic bearing. Yes, the incident is reported to have happened during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. But we can't accept the film as a historical document. We've therefore asked them to remove the announcement in the opening titles declaring the film to be based on historical facts and instead, add a disclaimer saying the work is partly fictional and partly authentic.

 

 Update: Victory lingers...

A gay Indian band wins its appeal against the Indian Film censor's decision to make 10s of cuts to a music video


Link Here 31st January 2017  full story: Gay Freedom in India...India considers the legality of gay sex
frineds of linger miss you video India's gay community have celebrated a small victory over the film censors of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

India's censorship appeal board, the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has overturned 10s of cuts specified by the CBFC before granting a music video a U/A (PG) certificate. The video, Miss You by Friends of Linger, would otherwise by A (18) rated which would bar the film from TV, which was the whole point of the video.

In a period of around ten minutes on 25th January, the FCAT watched the video, read the appeal, discussed it, posed a few questions and then said the appeal was successful.

The band's front man, Sharif Ranganekar, wrote:

The FCAT in effect turned this tiny song into a moment that could be viewed as a shift in acceptance of gay content in mainstream television. However small the shift might be, it could well be an indication of something bigger that many LGBTQs are hoping for. If we place this against the backdrop of hostility, hate, right-wing politics and the patiently-awaited Supreme Court verdict, the FCAT's conclusion to overturn a CBFC order is not very small. It could be a precedent, a filmmaker out of Mumbai told me. Some gay activists felt the occasion should be celebrated and the song performed at gay parties.

The video is probably the first of its kind in the Indian context. Two men in love, the love lost to marriage and the recollection of a relationship is what made this video a story to tell. When Manav Malvai, the director, showed me the story-board, I was sure we had a sensitive script. But the CBFC thought otherwise. In response to our mid-September (2016) application, we received an A certificate. Of course, this meant that the video would never get to TV in India. I did not accept this and filed an application seeking a review.

The CBFC returned with a UA with cuts response on October 21 . What the censors found objectionable was a ten-second shot of two men -- Pran Saikia and myself -- lying in bed only in shorts. Mind you, we were neither making love or even hugging each other. It was a scene of separation and hardly intimate -- a word used by the CBFC.

By then, even sections of the press hinted that the CBFC was homophobic but this was denied. At that time, Miss You had become incidental to what was a larger issue of acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

Finally, after viewing the video, the FCAT showed a fairness that one hopes is reflective of a changing time. They used the word sensitive to describe the video, relevant for its content and the ten seconds that the CBFC had wanted cut as intrinsic to the narrative.

 

  FXXXing censorship...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is cut by the Indian film censor


Link Here 14th January 2017
cbfc cuts xxx return of xander cage xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a 2017 USA action adventure thriller by DJ Caruso.
Starring Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen and Deepika Padukone. IMDb

Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) comes out of self-imposed exile, thought to be long dead, and is set on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang (Donnie Yen) and his team in a race to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora's Box. Recruiting an all-new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of world governments.

India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Has cut xXx: Return of Xander Cage for a U/A rating (PG in UK/US terms).

The cuts list was leaked online and reads:

  • Added anti-smoking disclaimer to the beginning, middle and smoking scroll wherever smoking appears on the screen.
  • Deleted the words Ass hole, Son of a Bitch, balls, baller and fucking wherever it appears.
  • Deleted the visuals of girls lying on the bed.
  • Deleted visuals of girl pouring liquor.

The cuts list clocked in at 12s of cuts (and 2 minutes of anti smoking propaganda were added)

The cuts to strong language don't quite square with the BBFC Insight that notes a few things that the Indian censors missed but didn't note the use of the word 'fucking'.

Indian news papers have been having fun noting that the word 'baller' is sporting term rather than a sexual term.

In the UK the film was passed 12A uncut for moderate action violence, sex references. The BBFC Insight adds:

There are verbal sex references, for example to safe words and to a stop-off at the old rub and tug . There is some focus on women's bodies, often when they are dancing or wearing swim suits or underwear.

The film also contains some mild bad language and a rude middle finger gesture.

But to be fair to the Indian film censor, the BBFC would also require cuts for the equaivalent PG rating.