What the beep!

  • 50 shades
    A still from the movie 50 Shades of Grey

An Open Letter to the censor board on its moral policing

Dear Censor Board,
Ouch! Your recent move to ban the use of certain cuss words in film, made me feel 13 again. And no, it wasn't the memory of puberty that made me wince. The move brought to mind a rather puritan English teacher of mine who felt morally bound to nip any sort of delinquent nature in the bud. Little did I know that this included saying 'boobies' out loud and I, therefore, found myself at the receiving end of a firm, resounding slap.

Why have you turned scissor mad all of a sudden and snipped enormous holes in what would otherwise be wholesome, fabulous fabrics of film? A rather selfish act, if one considers how disheartening it must be for filmmakers to have their work mutilated in this manner and their vision misunderstood. It is terribly irksome where the audience are forced to see abridged versions of film, or to not see any of it all. I feel left out, when my foreign girlfriends whisper over how hard Christian Grey (pun wickedly intended) cracks his whip. I feel frustrated when I see an Anurag Kashyap film, knowing that it is no longer in it's virgin state but has been carelessly manhandled.

Now, I do understand that you are offended. But, please be rest assured that any profanity or lewdity you might view in film is not directly at you, but is simply a part of the filmmaker's narrative. Do as I do. When I see something offensive, for example, a Jacqueline Fernandes jiggling and wiggling her ample assets while a lustful Salman Khan looks approvingly, I look away or, if I can, switch channels.

Though I do not have the power to make everyone look away, even if I did, I would not set my personal judgement as the moral standards. Deciding exactly what the public can view has a distinct Taliban odour about it, don't you think, which in any democracy that does not want to be labelled regressive, just does not sit well. And how, might you ask, is allowing swear words and lesbians to frolic on screen, a sign of progression? It shows tolerance and the maturity to accept another person's point of view, albeit different from your own. That is a sign of a healthy, forward-thinking body, which you will agree is a rather fetching badge to wear.

The Indian audience does not entirely consist of giggling, impressionable adolescents who need to be protected from the (perceived) evils of the medium. We are grown-ups who do not punctuate their sentences with swear words, and who do not turn into flesh-thirsty hooligans from watching sex on screen. We are liberal enough to view a film for what it is—a work of art. And we, might I add, would like to enjoy the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression.

Cast aside that prudish demeanour and adopt a more libertarian approach. Focus solely on assigning ratings to film instead of filtering content. Let us, the audience, decide what we want and do not want to see.

Empower filmmakers and respect their creativity.

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