Just a few days ago, Shyam Benegal told SpotboyE that the (CBFC Central Board of Film Certification) has failed its filmmakers and here is another shining example of CBFC’s incompetence and hypocrisy.
Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh, which sensitively deals with the theme of homosexuality, has been barred from airing its trailers on television, throwing the marketing plan of the small-budget film, out of the window.
The official reason given by the Board for giving the trailer an ‘Adult’ rating is because of the film’s ‘theme.’ Talking to SpotboyE.com, the film’s writer Apurva Asrani said, “In the 20 years of my career, I have never seen something as outrageous as this. We can’t even fight the Adult rating because we’re weeks away from release and already struggling to make it to people’s living rooms.”
An 'A' rating would imply that Aligarh’s trailer can be aired only after. Theatrically, the trailer cannot be attached to any movie other than the ones that are 'A' rated.
“The Censor Board reeks of hypocrisy and homophobia. On one hand you have heavy bosoms breathing suggestively, penis jokes, erections in films like Kya Kool Hai Hum 3 and Mastizaade which are conveniently approved by our Board, on the other hand – a real life story about a man’s struggle with homosexuality is censored,” Apurva lamented.
The writer added that Aligarh is a dignified take on the subject and doesn’t feature anything remotely offensive or sexually-charged. “Somewhere, there is something this Board doesn’t want to tell our audiences. If you can have a gay character being ridiculed, that is alright--- but if the subject is addressed seriously, they have a problem,” he pointed out, citing the example of Suresh Menon’s gay character in Mastizaade.
The writer added that to dispel the fears and prejudices associated with homosexuality, one needs to be able to showcase a film about the subject freely. “I have no problem with sex-comedies but a film like ours should be able to co-exist. I think the prejudices are so deeply ingrained in our society that the word gay itself provokes disdain and fear. But surely not when you need to make fun of them,” he asserted.
What’s the alternative left with the makers now? “We’re getting good reaction on the Internet but that is a very small audience. I feel the Board is denying the right of choice to the viewers – something they cannot do. I think the appointment of Mr. Nihalani, or for that matter Gajendra Chauhan at FTI, is a very systematic attempt at stifling what they are the most scared of- creative freedom,” he signed off.
Image Source: twitter/aligarh, Tseries