Manu Rewal, producer and director of the award winning documentaries, ‘Le Corbusier in India’, ‘Mandu – the city of joy’ and ‘Lutyens’ Delhi’ has landed in troubled waters with his debut feature film ‘Chai Pani etc’. The film on a young filmmaker’s riot against censorship and corruption, has itself become a victim of the Indian Film Censor Board.
Rewal feels that his dream project has not been acknowledged in the right perspective. In March 2004, he applied for a censor certificate in Chennai since his prints were being processed at Prasad Lab, Chennai. “The Censor Board took an unreasonable and unbalanced view of the film and objected to actress Konkona Sen Sharma smoking a cigarette and using four-letter words in English. Two mild kissing scenes, of three seconds each, were also objected and the Censor classified the film for adult audiences only,” Rewal says.
“It’s really ironic that the Censor Board has allowed item numbers, passionate kissing and scores of filthy Indian abuses, not to talk of smoking, in every second masala film, but is objecting to the inclusion of comparatively innocent moments in my film. I feel that the Censors have isolated some scenes and are looking at them out of context. After all, it is a light-hearted but authentic portrayal of today’s young people and their relationships. Moreover, they want to make the cuts in scenes that are critical to the film, like the introductory scenes at the beginning and the climax. If I were to accept these cuts, it would critically damage the film,” Rewal told exchange4media.
As a result of the Censor Board’s attitude, ‘Chai Pani etc’ has not been able to qualify for this year’s National Awards or for the competition for Best Asian Film at the International Film Festival of India being held in Goa. The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2004.