Censor Board Chief Pahlaj Nihalani, who is known for his conservative stance on certifying films has baffled members of film fraternity and audience alike by passing the much-awaited film The Jungle Book with a U/A certificate.
A U/A certificate advices parental discretion. In other words, children below 12 years can only watch The Jungle Book under the supervision of parents.
Nihalani has justified the U/A certificate for a movie based on children's book, saying the film's special effects were too 'scary' and it may not be suitable for kids to watch without guidance of parents.
"Please don't go by the reputation of the book. See the film and then decide on the suitability of the content for kids,” Nihalani told DNA, adding that the 3D effects of the film are “so scary”.
“It's not just the story that determines certification. It's the overall presentation, the packaging and most important of all, the visual affects used to tell the story. In Jungle Book the jungle animals jumping at the audience in 3D is startling,” he added, saying now it is for parents to decide whether or not they should take their children to the film.
The the producers of the film have expressed displeasure with the CBFC's certificate as they were hoping to get a clean 'U' for the children's film. The filmmakers were not ready to make cuts as suggested by the certification board and were granted a U/A.
Since Nihalani became the CBFC chief, he has constantly been in the news for his illiberal approach towards the films. He courted a huge controversy last year for cutting short kissing scenes between James Bond and his leading ladies in Spectre.
The controversy also resulted in a the Centre appointing a panel under the leadership of filmmaker Shyam Benegal to suggest measures to help Censor Board members understand the nuances of film certification.
By far Mowgli, the Hindi animated version of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book stories, has the high nostalgic value among who grew up in 90s. The film is set to take the audience down the memory lane, besides ensuring a thrilling experience for children.
The film will release this Friday.