Hansal Mehta: Surprised when censor board asked for cuts in 'Aligarh'
National Award winning filmmamker Hansal Mehta says he was surprised when the censor board asked for certain cuts in his upcoming 'Aligarh'.
The movie, starring Rajkummar Rao and Manoj Bajpayee, is based on the real-life incident of professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, who was fired from his job because of his alleged sexual orientation.
Mehta says the censor board is behaving like the same "homophobic society which suspended Siras due to his sexual preferences".
"When the censor board saw the film they asked for certain cuts. I am a bit surprised by the cuts they have asked for. The film in many ways is about loneliness, relationships, rejection. It's about a homophobic society. What has happened is the censor is behaving exactly like the people who suspended professor Siras," Mehta told reporters at the trailer launch of the film here.
"They (Censor Board) are behaving like a homophobic society... We are taking the matter to the tribunal. It's just that you are breaking the back of a film, you are making us run around pillar to post when we should be taking the film to you, showing the film to everyone," he added.
The trailer of "Aligarh" has been given an A certificate by the censor board.
Mehta said he was showing the trailer in "protest and absolute anger."
"We have only a month to promote the film. It's not only an important entertainment medium but important film for our nation. They have put a stop to the promotions by giving the promo an A certificate.
"This promo can now run only with an A-certificate film. I am showing the trailer in protest and absolute anger," Mehta added.
Bajpayee said he was surprised to know even trailers are certified and said there are other promos which deserve a "double A certificate" owing to their content.
"When I heard the trailer received an A certificate I couldn't understate if even trailers get A certificate. Digitally there are many products¿ which are good and everybody has the right to make that¿ but which should be given double A certificate for the trailers.
"There is nothing being talked about or shown in our trailer which will shock the sensibility of a child," Bajpayee said.
The "Gangs of Wasseypur" actor feels there should be nothing like "censor" and believes there are a lot of things to be improvised in the censor board.
"We are all taken aback and shocked... Somewhere we need to improvise a lot of things at the censor boards level... I believe there should be nothing like censor, especially in today's times when digital media has become stronger than print and TV," Bajpayee added.
When asked if moral policing should be expected owing to the subject of the film, Bajpayee said, "Homosexuality is a sexual preference. Who are those people doing moral policing... Nobody has the right to do moral policing. It's not like we have murdered somebody by making the film. We have done everything under the constitution."
Mehta, however, said the current censor board was very courteous to him.
"Let me clarify, they have proposed an A certificate for the film which we have not accepted. We will take it forward. Let me also tell you, when we showed the film to the censors they were very courteous, they were more courteous than I have seen in the last sixteen years of my career.
"I've never been asked to sit down during a censor board screening. They asked me to sit. They spoke to me with utmost politeness. They tried their best to come out of their own shell.
Unfortunately its not easy to come out," he added.
"Aligarh" releases on February 26.