Censor Board's East-West Bias?

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New Delhi, Feb. 6 -- A week after the Censor Board of India passed the full frontal nude scenes in the Hollywood film, 12 Years Slave, Bollywood insiders say that there have always been a different rules for Western films and Indian movies. The flick was earlier supposed to face six cuts, but the censor board gave them a green signal.    

"The argument is that their culture is different from ours, so we should respect that and let their scenes go as they are. I still remember how kissing scenes in Hollywood were shown in theatres while in Bollywood movies, it was a hush-hush issue," says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.    

Trade analyst Atul Mohan is of the opinion that big banners influence the Censor Board. "We've witnessed what happened with the film, Shahid, which got an 'A' certificate. Similar thing happened with Miss Lovely, which had 60 odd cuts. The film is about the C grade Bollywood industry, so it will obviously have some sexual content. Why didn't they pass those scenes? They can pass a big budget Hollywood film which has similar content, but not Hindi films?" he argues.    

Filmmaker Kunal Kohli, however, says there's no discrimination by the Censor Board. "The Wolf Of Wall Street faced some cuts. So, saying that the censor board is partial is not entirely true," he says.    

Meanwhile, Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender, who stars in 12 Years..., supports the nude scenes in it. "If we want to do justice to the story, who are we to censor it?" he says.    

Chairperson of the Censor Board, Leela Samson, too, recently said that the Board needs to be more liberal. "This Board has always interpreted certification guidelines in the most sensitive, liberal and progressive way, reflecting the maturing sensibilities of our audiences," she said.