Since the censor board’s decision committee failed to agree on what classification to award the movie, the final call now rests with Pahlaj Nihalani.
The censor board seems to be exceptionally sensitive this week. After cutting the words ‘mann ki baat’ from a film’s dialogue (because that’s the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio show), it has stalled the release of a Bengali film on demonetisation, Shunyota (Emptiness) as the board’s chief Pahlaj Nihalani debates what certification to give the film.
Director Suvendu Ghosh received a statement from the board informing him that the deciding committee couldn’t agree on a certification category for the film and the final decision now lay with Nihalani. The statement read, “Since there are differences of opinion among the members of the committee regarding certification, the case is being referred, as per Certification rules, to the Chairman, CBFC for his decision in this regard (sic).”
According to the Indian Express, Ghosh was surprised by the board’s decision, or lack of it. He told the newspaper, “Shunyota is an ensemble of three short films of which two were made over the last five months and have already been certified independently under U and U/A categories. Only the third film is new and has been put together with the other two in order to have a commercial release as a feature film. If the first two, made on the same subject of demonetisation, were certified without any problem then why is the feature film being held up?”
Although Ghosh thinks his movie remains neutral about demonetisation, at a press conference he said, “It (the film) has no political colour but had they (CBFC) told me to cut certain parts I would have considered.”– he also speculated about the board’s decision saying, “I think the subject of the movie was the reason why they could not take a decision… They probably did not view short films as a threat. But a feature film with a commercial release is a different scenario.”
Ghosh is currently awaiting a decision from Nihalani.
Some of the censor board’s recent decisions include demanding the Hanuman Chalisa be deleted from scenes in recently released Phillauri, denying certification to Lipstick Under My Burkha and deleting sex scenes from Oscar-winning movie Moonlight.