‘CBFC FEARS FEMALE SEXUALITY ON SCREEN’
Actor Naseeruddin Shah says that only a psychiatrist could figure out the Censor Board’s attitude
Naseeruddin Shah has watched the film Lipstick Under My Burkha, starring his wife Ratna Pathak Shah, twice. And the veteran actor can’t figure out why the film was initially denied certification by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), aka Censor Board.
“I really don’t know what problem they had with the film. I think they have a problem with female sexuality being portrayed on screen. What the film’s success has done is that it has shown [the Censor Board] up, and what they thought about the film. I have seen the film twice, and it’s a wonderfully made film that talks about what’s going on in society,” he says.
The CBFC letter informing that certification wouldn’t be given had called the film “lady-oriented”, a perplexing word that drew much ridicule from filmmakers and actors. Afterwards, the Lipstick team got the required clearance from the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. This has been one of the most highprofile tussles between the Censor Board and film teams in recent memory. Director Alankrita Shrivastava fought for almost six months to get a clean chit for Lipstick.
Shah says, “One has to ask a psychiatrist as to why they are afraid of [female sexuality] on screen... But the success of such films prove that no one is bothered about what the Censor Board or the doubters think about [these] films.”
Shah criticises the Censor Board for being dictatorial. He says, “They are supposed to give a film a certificate; they are no authority to ban a film, or stay its release. But then they claim to be someone who can do that. Their narrowminded approach affects the film industry. But nothing has been done about it.”
It’s frightening to see that the Board can do whatever it wants, practise its biases openly, and ban films that it doesn’t like NASEERUDDIN SHAH, ACTOR