The film hit headlines after the Central Board Film Certification (CBFC) headed by Pahlaj Nihalani refused it certification for its “sexual content, abusive words and audio pornography”.
Trashing the arguments by the CBFC, the FCAT has asked for the film to be granted an ‘A’ certificate with “voluntary and some additional cuts and deletions”. It has asked the film makers to reduce the duration of sex scenes. The FCAT is the tribunal that hears the appeals filed by film makers or producers who are aggrieved by the CBFC’s orders.
Amid an uproar against censorship, Nihalani had refused to certify the film that stars Konkona Sen Sharma and Ratna Pathak, calling it “lady-oriented” and a “fantasy above life”.
The FCAT has found no merit in the reasoning that certification had to be denied on the ground of “women in the film shown in bad light particularly targeting women of certain community which might hurt sentiments.”
In a sharply worded judgment, the FACT has said the examining committee and revising committee of the CBFC have “misdirected themselves in denying certification on the ground that the story of the film is women oriented”.
The makers in their appeal had asserted that the theme of the film is about “women claiming their rights over their body, their ideas, decisions, aspirations and fulfilment of their dreams” and promotes “emancipation and assertion of women rights, culminating in their liberation and empowerment”.
The FCAT observed that CBFC “misdirected them selves in denying certification on the ground that the story of the film is women oriented. There cannot be any embargo on a film being women oriented or containing sexual fantasies and expression of the inner desires of women”, it reiterated.
“As a matter of general approach if the aspect of sexual desires and their expression is sensitively handled without bringing coarseness, vulgarity or obscenity, pandering prurient tendencies, then it is not to be disallowed,” the statement read, adding, “We cannot lose sight that there is a thin line between creative and artistic expression being depicted in a natural sex scene. The same can be obliterated if the sexual scenes are continued for a long duration which may not be necessary or integral to the film. Besides, it would then infringe the guidelines requiring such scenes to be kept to the minimum.”
It has directed some voluntary cuts or reduction in the length of the sex scenes. In addition to the above, some cuts, which the FCAT felt were necessary, particularly in the length of the scenes, were so directed.
Headed by former judge Justice Manmohan Sarin, the FCAT, which was approached by the film’s makers Alankrita Srivastava and Prakash Jha, has ruled that if a film handles aspect of sexual desires and their expression sensitively without coarseness, vulgarity or obscenity, pandering prurient tendencies, then certification cannot be disallowed.
“The FCAT found that there was no violation of guidelines as neither the visuals nor the dialogues are contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups. There was no targeting of women of certain community or religion,” the order said.
After the film makers offered voluntary cuts or reduction in the length of the sex scenes; it has suggested reductions and deletions to be carried out to reduce the sex scenes “without affecting in any manner the projection and substance of the scene or in any manner affecting the basic film.”
On the use of abusive and cuss words, the FCAT has noted that these are integral and germane to the characters and the story.
The film featuring Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Plabita Borthakur and Aahana Kumra, chronicles the secret lives of four women of different ages in a small town in India as they search for different kinds of freedom.