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The New Censor Policy : Getting Away With Filth In The Name Of Liberalism?

Subhash K . Jha

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The  language  used  in Tabrez Noorani’s  Love Sonia, a  film that  purports to blow the  lid on child trafficking in India, is repellent  to the point of  rendering the  rawness emasculated. It is meant to be the language  of  authenticity, But instead ends up showing reels and reams  of repugnant sadism and torture.

But apparently  director Tabrez Noorani  who  was part of another exploitative  voyeuristic  drama Slumdog Millionaire peddling porn-poverty , convinced  the Indian  censor board’s  Tribunal to release  Love Sonia in all its filthy glory.

Now,  I  have nothing against characters  giving gaalis on screen,if the situation  demands  it. But when done repeatedly and insistently in tones that suggest  that suggest the defiance  of  a 6-year who will  do su-su in the bed just to torment Mommy,knowing she will clean up next morning ,  then it’s time to think  of  the  “G’  word…no, not glory, but gratuitous.

We all know  prostitutes, now termed sex workers,  lead hard lives. Films like B R Chopra’s Sadhana, Gulzar’s Mausam,Shyam Benegal’s Mandi and Lekh Tandon’s Doosri Sita  hav  showed  a genuine  concern  for  the rehabilitation  of sex workers.
In Dear Sonia the  verbal  venom gets in the way of any sincerity on  the director’s part making this the  film with the maximum number of  expletives  meant to shock us. But after you hear the mother and  sister’s private being publicly abused for the  umpteenth   time, shock turns into disgust.This kind  of garbage-spewing in  the name of authenticity is  the  oldest trick  in the  book to get dirty.

While the Tribunal branch  of  the  CBFC, known to go notoriously against the decision  of  the CBFC’s Examining Committee and Revising Committee , has given Love Soniya’s abusive soundtrack a  clean chit,  a  prominent  member  of CBFC says  the decision to upturn the Revising Committee  decision  could prove   suicidal.

“We at the CBFC asked for several verbal  cuts  in Love Sonia. There is  a major difference between appropriate language  and dirty language. Just because the women in Love Sonia are prostitutes they  don’t have to keep reminding us of where they come from.We were  totally opposed  to the  gutter-level language and suggested several cuts at points in the narrative the where  Maa-Bahen  profanities seem to impinge rather than enhance the  plot and characters.But the Tribunal decided to be ‘liberal’. There  is  difference between  being liberal and being foolhardy,” says a self-admittedly sickened  member  of  the censor board.

 A filmmaker  who has recently come away with a  taste of the CBFC’s newly-retrieved liberalism  feels the  new set-up at  theCBFC is bending backwards  to  reverse the earlier censor chief’s over-sanskari  image. “After  Pahlaj Nihalani, Prasoon Joshi is eager to portray a new progressive image for the  CBFC even it means  letting filth  walk by his range of  vision.Instead  of focusing on letting  filmmakers get away with profanities  why doesn’t he try to ensure films are not certified at the eleventh hour?”

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