In its latest move, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cancelled the scheduled broadcast of Oscar-winning movie ‘The Danish Girl’ on Sony Pictures Network’s channel Sony Le PLEX HD on March 26, citing it as controversial. The Tom Hopper-directed movie, starring Eddie Redmayne, tells the story of Lili Elbe, one of the first people who came out and went for gender reassignment surgery.
According to a source, “CBFC reasoned saying they found the film too controversial a subject for Indian audience. Hence, it shouldn’t be aired on television. Apart from that, there was no detailed reason.”
The movie even had a theatrical release with an ‘A’ certification from CBFC. As per the norm, every film that receives an ‘A’ certification for the theatrical release has to reapply for certification for television broadcast. In fact, the movie was lying with the CBFC board for a couple of months before its scheduled airing on March 26, as mentioned by a source. But then on Friday the board notified the channel with its decision to cancel the broadcast.
That channel put up a post on its social media platforms sharing its disappointment, “We regret to inform that Sony Le Plex HD is unable to telecast the much-awaited television premiere of the internationally acclaimed award-winning film The Danish Girl on March 26 as the necessary certification to enable telecast of the movie has not been received. We continue making all necessary efforts to secure the certification and will keep you informed of the future date of telecast. We thank you for your continuous support and understanding. Any inconvenience caused is regretted.”
CBFC’s move has definitely caused an uproar on social media with Twitteratti criticizing it vehemently.
Recently, the CBFC had reportedly asked the makers of the film Phillauri to ‘mute’ the Hanuman Chalisa recitation in the movie and have muted the word ‘prostitute’ in Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning Iranian film, The Salesman, which will be releasing in India on March 31. Then last month, ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ was denied certification by the board for allegedly being ‘lady oriented’ and containing ‘abusive words.’
Censorship has definitely become a concern for the M&E industry. Even STAR India Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Uday Shankar took a stand against censorship at the annual FICCI Frames conference last week by referring to it as a ‘somewhat disturbing trend.’ “As the world gets bolder, our censor authorities seem to be getting more and more conservative. Even a word like ‘saali’ has to be silenced in a film. The city names must be absolutely correct and contemporary and of course don’t go anywhere near discussions of women’s issues – let alone female sexuality. I understand that in 2015-16 the censor board refused certification to 77 movies. This number was 47 in 2014-15 and only 23 in the year before,” he had said at the event.