Naseeruddin Shah has repeatedly voiced concern about the Indian censor board’s ‘sensitivities’ when it comes to censoring films and after watching his wife’s film Lipstick Under My Burkha, he couldn’t help but question their judgement.
According to Hindustan Times, the actor watched the Ratna Pathak Shah-starrer twice and didn’t see why the CBFC would initially deny its certification.
“I really don’t know what problem they had with the film. I think they have a problem with female sexuality being portrayed on screen,” he said.
Earlier this year, the CBFC had refused to certify Prakash Jha’s film citing that the “story is lady-oriented”, among other reasons and drew a tussle between the filmmaker and the committee, which ended in Lipstick Under My Burkha receiving a green light from the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (after several cuts).
Shah believes the film’s success tells a different story – one the censor board can take as a lesson.
“What the film’s success has done is that it has shown the censor board up, and what they thought about the film. I have seen the film twice, and it’s a wonderfully made film that talks about what’s going on in society. I don’t know why the Censor Board had a problem with that,” added the actor.
However, his main concern is that the censor board’s decisions go unchecked: “One has to ask a psychiatrist as to why they are afraid of [female sexuality] on screen. It’s very frightening to see that the censor board can do whatever it wants and practice its biases openly and ban films that it doesn’t like. But the success of such films prove that no one is bothered about what the censor board or the doubters think about [these] films.”
Naseeruddin added: “They are supposed to give a film a certificate; they are no authority to ban a film, or stay its release. But then they claim themselves to be someone who can do that. Their narrow-minded approach affects the film industry. But nothing has been done about it.”
The tussle with the Indian censor board is not new. Last year the CBFC asked makers of Udta Punjab to drop Punjab from the title and proposed 94 cuts from the movie for its excessive use of profanities.