Udta punjab
Udta punjab

In an age where the audience is exposed to more horrendous acts of man’s crimes, what difference will it bring by banning a movie or censoring it, when people have already seen several videos of the same on TV, asks V Gangadhar.

Like it or not, most of us believe in numbers. 13 is universally acknowledged to be unlucky, but not to Australian cricketers who try their best to avoid 87 on their way to a deserving century. Many of these beliefs do not make sense. If 13 is unlucky, how come 87 (13 less than 100) is regarded unlucky by Australian batsmen. Whatever be the issue, films or cricket coaching, the numbers game has an impact and it has become such an important issue in the media that even non-believers like me are turning into semi-believers!

Look at what is happening at the film censor Board. Normally a cushy job where one gets to watch films before the normal public, you watched the ‘uncensored’ versions of films and boast about them to your envious friends. There were hardly any erotic scenes in these films — Hollywood movies like ‘Blow Hot Blow Cold’ had some sizzling kissing scenes but the alert censors saw to it there were not too many of these and our morals safely remained intact. On other occasions, there was a flash of a shapely thigh which appeared and disappeared before one could sit down to enjoy the movie.

The normally buxom Hindi and Tamil film heroines allowed a more generous view of their hidden assets, but hungry viewers like me were like Olivier Twist always asking for more! The only consolation was that we were not slapped around by officials like Mr Bumble for being greedy.

When did one leave behind and become a ‘real adult’? The ‘strictly adult’ movie, ‘The story of Bob an Sally’, which I watched when 13 was clearly ‘earthy’ and I threw up during the scene which showed the birth of a deformed baby. Oh enough of adult movies!

Those who enjoyed special privileges which were denied to other normal citizens aroused my ire. I was never a member of the Censor Board and never watched uncut versions of ‘Forever Amber’ or other ‘steamy’ movies. Later in life on my trips abroad I became accustomed to “Playboy’ lifestyle, yet did not understand the A/U kind of certification.

The grading of politically graded films puzzled me more. Why ban films about which you read about in the dailies and magazines every day? The partition of Punjab and the bloodbath is now part of history. We all know about it. While not erasing the horror scenes from our memories we should object to deliberate distortions of history which could inflame communal passions.

There is no sense in blacking out scenes which are known to everyone like the drug scenes in ‘Udta Punjab’. People the world over had watched on TV and videos more horrendous, but true scenes of man’s cruelty to man can be stomach churning.

(V Gangadhar writes satire, a special form of humour. Incidents and anecdotes in his column are purely imaginary)

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