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Commented: Unstoppable Liberalism...

Indian press note that the BBFC demanded cuts for a 12A rating for Race 3 but, was uncut in India with the same certificate


Link Here 30th June 2018
Race 3 is a 2018 India action thriller by Remo D'Souza (as Remo).
Starring Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez. BBFC link IMDb

Revolves around a family that deals in borderline crime; ruthless and vindictive to the core.

The BBFC required 1:20s of cuts for a 12A rated cinema release. The BBFC noted that the cut version contained moderate violence, sex references. The BBFC explained the cut saying:

The company has chosen to remove scenes of strong violence in order to achieve a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available

In India the censors have rated the film as U/A uncut. The U/A is equivalent to a 12A rating in that under 12s can only see the film if accompanied by a parent.

The UK cuts have generated interest in India with the perspective that it shows that Indian censors are not strict enough. Free Press Journal reports:

A source from the Indian censor board finds the discrepancy between the Indian and British censor's perception to be disconcerting. Are we to presume that the Indian censor board is more liberal than its British counterpart?

To be honest we did have reservations about certain shots being suitable for a 'UA' certification. But there is a standing instruction from above (meaning the I &B ministry) that nothing should be cut from any film unless absolutely necessary.

We are looking at an era of unstoppable liberalism in the censor board. This is to countermand the sanskari era of Pahlaj Nihalani .

Update: Another example of a higher rating from the BBFC than from the CBFC

30th June 2018. See  article from zeenews.india.com

Sanju is a 2018 India biography by Rajkumar Hirani.
Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal and Manisha Koirala. IMDb

Few lives in our times are as dramatic and enigmatic as the saga of Sanjay Dutt. Coming from a family of cinema legends, he himself became a film star, and then saw dizzying heights and darkest depths: adulation of die-hard fans, unending battles with various addictions, brushes with the underworld, prison terms, loss of loved ones, and the haunting speculation that he might or might not be a terrorist. Sanju is in turns a hilarious and heartbreaking exploration of one man's battle against his own wild self and the formidable external forces trying to crush him.

UK: Passed 15 uncut for drug references, drug misuse, infrequent strong sex references for 2018 cinema release.

India: Passed U/A (12A) after 1 cut to delete the sight of an overflowing toilet in a prison cell.

Rajkumar Hirani's Sanju which opened in cinemas on Friday. India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared the film with a U/A certificate with just one cut asking the makers to remove the overflowing prison toilet scene from the movie for aesthetic reasons.

U/A is more a less a 12A rating in India and this has now been compared with the 15 BBFC 15 uncut rating for drug references, drug misuse, infrequent strong sex references.

It is the second example this month cited in the India press claiming that the India censors are more liberal than the BBFC.

Comment: BBFC go high

13th September 2018. Thanks to Joseph

Having seen both of the films mentioned in cinemas; including the 12A version of Race 3 and later the uncut bits online. I can definitely agree with the BBFC's decision to request cuts for a 12A; the cuts mainly occur to a shootout near the start of the film where large blood spurts are shown from shotgun blasts, and to some other violence later in the film.

As for Sanju I'm kinda conflicted, it would've definitely been a borderline decision between the 12A/15 categories and ultimately they went for a 15 (they usually go for the higher in borderline cases); while there is drug use it is entirely within the first act, in the context of actor Sanjay Dutt's drug addiction which is shown to have major negative effects and is strongly discouraged. The film has a very strong anti drug message. The drug use is also mostly implied with the exception of some joint smoking and a pill being placed in a man's mouth; although drugs such as cocaine are implied. The film also feels like a 12A rather than a 15 tonally with the film being upbeat and inspirational in tone. However the level of drug taking and frequency of verbal references in the first act meant I can understand the 15.

 

 

Don't feed the trolls...

Indian court dismisses petition that a magazine cover showing breastfeeding was somehow obscene


Link Here 22nd June 2018
The Kerala High Court has refused to categorise the cover of the March issue of Grihalakshmi magazine showing a woman breastfeeding her baby as obscene, noting that shocking one's morals is an elusive concept, and that one man's vulgarity is another man's lyric.

The Bench observed:

We do not see, despite our best efforts, obscenity in the picture, nor do we find anything objectionable in the caption, for men. We looked at the picture with the same eyes we look at the paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. As the beauty lies in the beholder's eye, so does obscenity, perhaps.

Petitioner Felix M.A. had contended that the magazine cover violated provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Rules, as well as Section 45 of the Juvenile Justice Act. He had also alleged violation of provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, and an Article of the Constitution of India.

 

 

Updated: Love, Simon...

Gay teen romance banned by India's film censors


Link Here 10th June 2018
Full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Love, Simon is a 2018 USA gay drama by Greg Berlanti.
Starring Katherine Langford, Nick Robinson and Jennifer Garner. BBFC link IMDb
From the producers of The Fault in Our Stars comes the relatable and heartfelt coming-of-age film LOVE, SIMON. Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon, it's a bit complicated. The gay teenager hasn't come out yet, and doesn't know the identity of the anonymous classmate he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues will be a hilarious, scary, life-changing adventure.

The film was banned by the film censors of the Central Board of Film Certification on the day of its release. The CBFC has said little so far beyond noting that the film was banned for gay content.

The film contains no explicit content although there is a kiss between the two lads.

In the UK the cinema release was passed 12A uncut for moderate sex references, infrequent strong language.

In the US the film was rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual references, language and teen partying

Update: Film censor says that the ban is not down to him

10th June 2018. See  article from deccanchronicle.com

CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi has completely denied that the CBFC has banned on Love, Simon. He said that an adults-only CBFC 'A' certificate has been given to Love, Simon four months ago, on February 6, 2018 after 2 cuts described as minor.

Another source from the CBFC says, This is one more attempt to use the censor board to gain publicity for a film.

However it is has not been made clear an alternative reason for the film being pulled from cinema s at the last moment.

 

 

Religious censors...

Indian sikhs form a film censor board and claim that films that feature the religion should get approval


Link Here 24th May 2018

The Akal Takht, the highest seat of authority of Sikhism in India, has formed a 21-member film censor board and claimed that its clearance will have to be taken before making any movie on the Sikh religion and culture. Giani Gurbachan Singh, the Akal Takht head claimed:

The decision was taken because of controversies over films on Sikh gurus and distortion of Sikh history in movies. Any film that plans to portray any sequence related to Sikh gurus, their kin and Sikh history will have to seek clearance from the Sikh Film Censor Board.

Over the past few years, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has been demanding that at least two of its members be included in the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), India's official film censor.

Unlike the CBFC, which comes into play after a film is complete and before its release, the Sikh board has said its approval will have to be taken for the script of any feature film, documentary, animation and play based on the Sikh religion.

 

 

Beeping censors...

Deadpool 2 cut in India, but not as heavily as the original


Link Here 16th May 2018
Full story: Deadpool and Deadpool 2...Superhero films with a little bit more adult appeal
Deadpool 2 is following in the footsteps of the original Deadpool by suffering at the hands of film censors from the Central Board of Film Certification.

Deadpool has had strong language beeped out or muted but bollywoodlife.com reports that the film has not suffered any visual cuts.

After the language cuts have been implemented the film has been granted an adults only 'A' certificate.

The movie is set to release in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu formats.

 

 

Don't try this at home!...

Indian state debates adding censorship warnings when a film depicts violence against women


Link Here 28th April 2018

Cinema films in the Indian state of Kerala are soon set to display a statutory warning when showing scenes that depict violence against women.

This comes after the Kerala State Human Rights Commission issued a directive to the regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), asking the board to include a statutory warning that violence against women is punishable under the law, when showing scenes that portray crimes against the gender. The Commission claimed that showing violent sexual crimes on screen could influence youngsters and hoped that displaying the statutory warning may create a positive impact.

Regional officer of CBFC, A Prathibha, told TNM that the board is open to complying with the Commission's directive. He said:

We have informed the CBFC Chairman about the directive and hope to arrive at a decision within 30 days. Since we agree with the Commission's observation that a warning that such acts are punishable must be displayed, I am certain the Chairman will issue a favourable order soon,

However, he added:

We don't have a clear picture as to how to implement this.

 

 

India is the most miserable place to surf the internet...

According to a Citizen Lab survey


Link Here 25th April 2018
India topped a survey of countries having firewalls and censorship systems to block web pages. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country have installed the highest number of censorshp systems, and have blocked the highest number of web pages.

According to a new investigation covering 10 countries by University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab along with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and The Indian Express found that India had 42 installations of technology marketed by Canadian company Netsweeper that implement content censorship for national-level, consumer-facing ISPs. These installations were found in internet services offered by 12 ISPs in the country. India also had the highest number of blocked unique URLs at 1,158 out of 2,464.

The data being released today accounts only for representative samples of censorship during the testing period between August 2017 and April 2018.

Other than those websites pertaining to porn or privacy, Indian ISPs have been found blocking access to websites and web pages belonging to domestic and foreign NGOs, United Nations organizations, human rights groups, health forums, feminist groups, and political activists at different points during the test period.

Reddit India's twitter handle (@redditindia) and Twitter handles of @anilkohli54, @tajinderbagga and @i_panchajanya, three accounts followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi , were found blocked at some point or the other during the test period, and instructions to block these Twitter handles are said to have been issued in August 2012.

Indian ISPs also blocked access to web pages of several media companies including those belonging to ABC News, Telegraph (UK), Al Jazeera, Tribune (Pakistan) with some of them dating back to 2012. The investigation also found ISPs blocking content related to the Rohingya refugee issue, and the deaths of Muslims in Burma and India more generally, and even snapshots of these content stored in Internet Archive's Wayback Machine have been found to be blocked.

 

 

Hurt feelings in Hyderabad...

Journalist's cartoon winds up online vigilantes


Link Here 21st April 2018
The Hyderabad police have registered a case against Swathi Vadlamudi, a journalist working for an English daily, for a cartoon she created in response to high profile rape cases in India.

A right wing online vigilante group called Hindu Sanghatan reported the cartoon to police after Vadlamudi posted it on her Facebook page.

Hindu Sanghatan describes itself on its website:

The intent of the Sanghatan is to find public posts, which ridicule and demean Hindus and take legal action against them.

There is a rise of pseudo-seculars and pseudo-liberals who are maligning Hindu religion in all protests. Hence we wanted to take legal action against those tainting Hindu religion.

Police registered a case against her under Section 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).

The president of Hindu Sanghatan  commented:

There is nothing wrong in expressing her anger at Kathua incident and in fact, we, too, share her feelings. But where is the need draw Hindu gods into the incident?

 

 

Un-freedom...

Banned film now available online to Indian Netflix subscribers


Link Here 11th April 2018
Full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Unfreedom is a 2015 USA / India crime romance by Raj Amit Kumar.
Starring Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussain and Bhanu Uday. Youtube link IMDb

In New York arrives a violent and angry man imprisoned by his brutal past, Mohammed Husain. His mission - to kidnap and kill a peaceful Muslim scholar, Fareed Rahmani. On the other side of the world, Leela Singh, a homosexual girl in New Delhi, kidnaps her bisexual lover, Sakhi Taylor. Her mission - to marry her lover and live happily ever after. In a brutal struggle of identities against unfreedom, four characters, in two of the world's largest cities, come face to face with most gruesome acts of torture and violence. The choices they make when they are most cornered in life, expose the blemished reality of contemporary world.

Almost three years after Unfreedom was banned in India by the Pahlaj Nihalani-led Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), on the grounds that it would ignite unnatural passions, the film has been acquired by Netflix and can be watched by the streaming service's subscribers.

After the film was refused certification by CBFC, the makers appealed at the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), only to be refused again.

Talking about the film's release by Netflix, director Raj Amit Kumar said in a press statement:

I am glad that Unfreedom finds such a popular platform like Netflix after the ban in India and the efforts of censorship guardians in India to stop the film. It also exposes the hypocrisy and divide between reality and fantasy of censorship system in India. There is no way they can control and censor content in digital age, yet, they try their best to choke filmmakers like me who have something relevant to say that makes them feel threatened.

 

 

Fake justification...

India's attempt to use 'fake news' to justify government censorship was just a little too blatant


Link Here 4th April 2018
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has abandoned an attempt to censor the country's press in the name of 'fake news'.

Information minister Smriti Irani's had propsed that the government would suspend the accreditation of journalists found producing fake news.

Indian journalists and editors had called it an attack on press. The proposal did not attempt to define fake news and so pretty much left it the government to define what should be censored.

 

 

Pakistan leads the way while the UK will soon follow...

Pakistan's internet censor blocks 400,000 porn sites and 10,000 proxy sites


Link Here 3rd April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked around 0.4 million porn websites and 9,846 proxy sites as well.

The figures were revealed when Additional Attorney General Nayyar Rizvi reported to the Supreme Court (SC).

His report also revealed that PTA has blocked several illegal satellite programming and content relayed by local cable operators.

 

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