CBFC banned 793 films in 16 years ― with little success

From January 2000 to 31 March 2016, the Censor Board did not approve of 793 films, but what difference did that make?

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Mumbai: The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) banned 793 films in the last 16 years. The government gave this information in response to an RTI application.

RTI activist Nutan Thakur was told that from 1 January 2000 to 31 March 2016, the ‘censor board’ did not issue certificates for the release of 793 films. The proscribed films comprised of 586 Indian and 207 foreign productions.

Thakur said that maximum films that were not certified were in Hindi: 231. This was followed by 96 Tamil films, 53 Telugu, 39 Kannada, 23 Malayalam and 17 Punjabi films that were banned. The list includes Paranzania (English 2005), Maa Ma Saadgamaya (Tamil 2012) and Mohalla Assi (Hindi 2015).

Mohalla Assi was finally released in 2018. Actors Sunny Deol, Sakshi Tanwar and Ravi Kishan play the lead roles in this film. The film is based on story writer Kashinath Singh’s book Kashi Ka Assi. The movie has been directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi. Earlier, the film was about to be released in 2015, but due to the intervention of the Delhi High Court, it was stuck.

According to the RTI reply, the highest number of films were banned in the year 2015-16: 153 movies. After this, 152 films were banned in 2014-15. In 2013-14, 119 and 2012-13, 82 films did not get the certificates.

Films banned due to strong language, violence, sex

Due to bold content (sex), crime and expletive-ridden language, these films were not issued release certificates: Manakkhor Haseena, Killer Shikari, Pyasi Chandni, Madhur Swapnam, Killer Night, Cremation Ghat, Manchali Padosan and Sex Science.

Inefficacy of banning films (Editor’s comment)

The censorship has proved ineffective in the age of the internet. Several uncertified films make it easy for sites with adult content. A trailer of Mohalla Assi, for example, the dialogues of which are full of offensive lingo, has done the rounds of even a strict YouTube.

Bengali filmmakers seem to be a law unto themselves. While Indian viewers would be surprised by the visuals of a Bangla movie like Cosmic Sex, they could also be stunned by the fact that there is a film named Gandu. The name sounds like an open challenge thrown at censorship or an act of making a mockery of the CBFC. These films are easily available on WWW.

The NDA government’s recent ban on adult sites has not hassled the consumers of pornography either. Browsers like UC continue to play adult content. One of the most popular sites of this genre, Porn Hub, has moved its content to a .NET domain to subvert censorship.

In the age of information superhighway, censorship is an anachronism, a war the authority is bound to lose.