New Delhi:"Why were dance numbers like 'Fevikol se', jalebi bai' or 'munni' presented to the audience in its present form, if Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) claims itself to be sensitive towards women", was one of the questions asked by a journalist at the panel discussion on sex, nudity, kiss and portrayal of women in Indian cinema.
The answer to this by one of the board members was, 'It was simply not edited'. And what followed this answer was the audience's raucous line of questions and impulses invariably prompted by increasing crime against women in India.
Several participants questioned how risqué songs and dance numbers like 'Fevicol Se' could get a clearance from the board. However, the members responded by saying it is you who can grant us that right by abolishing such movies, not buying tickets and sending plethora of mails to impose a restriction. One of the members went on to say that we are bound by the court's orders of freedom of expression.
The panel discussion was held at the '100 years of Indian Cinema' fest in Delhi's Siri Ford Auditorium organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The broad topic of discussion was: Nudity, sex, profanity, kiss and portrayal of women in Indian cinema.
At the festival, Shubhra Gupta, The Indian Express’s columnist, screened clips from films of various Indian languages that included footage of women facing brutal thrashing, being raped and assaulted, thrusting their bodies onto the camera, and men preying on them.
This was conspicuously done to buttress the argument that how sensitive the board is while deciding on the factors responsible for the portrayal of women in Indian cinema.
“The board has often been accused of denying freedom of expression, but people really don't know what we cut,” Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief executive Pankaja Thakur said, “We want you to judge how sensitive board has been in asking for the cuts.”
Before showing these footages, Gupta briefly took us through the history of censorship in India while traced through the evolution of the kissing scenes in Hindi cinema. One of the most well-known was Himanshu and Devika rani's kissing scene in 1933 (Karma) and the real-start that came in Raja Hindustani (1996), in which rain and thunder seemingly provoked the liplock of Karisma Kapoor and Aamir Khan.
Producer Ekta Kapoor, who has been behind controversial films like Love Sex Aur Dhoka, Kya Super Cool Hai Hum and Ragini MMS, said Indian men need to change their mentality towards women, instead of women covering them.
The session was as it promised to be - steamy, that ended with a lot of thought provoking questions-both answered and unanswered ones in the minds of the participants.