Pahlaj Nihalani
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CBFC's 'unnatural' ban?

Pahlaj Nihalani


Mumbai, March 31 -- The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is in the middle of a controversy yet again. After the recent cuss-word debate and more scene snips that were widely contested, chairman Pahlaj Nihalani's decision to ban Unfreedom - a film based on a homosexual relationship - has been met with criticism.

The board reportedly has issues with both the lesbian relationship shown in the film and the parallel story where a liberal Muslim girl is kidnapped by terrorists.

"They told me that Hindus and Muslims will start fighting, and that the film will also ignite 'unnatural passion'. I was aghast as my film is not provocative," Raj Amit Kumar, the director of the film was quoted as saying.

Several members of the film industry are also not in agreement with this ban. Film-maker Hansal Mehta says, "If they feel that certain scenes are inappropriate, they can give the film an 'A' certificate."

A shocked LGBT activist, Rituparna Borah, says, "We have regressed many steps. I don't understand how rape and stalker songs are valid, but this is not." Adds film-maker Sanjay Gupta on Twitter: "The reasons for banning this film are UNFU ** BELIEVBLE (sic)."

Director Vikram Bhatt says these incidents have snowballed into a bigger matter. "It has become more of an ego battle between the film industry and the censor board," says Bhatt. The battle between the members seems no less. CBFC member Ashoke Pandit rues, "The chairman decides what kind of cinema will be made without the consent of the rest of us. It is a sad situation."