With their erratic rules and regulations, the Indian Censor Board may appear to be a mean father-in-law to many filmmakers, especially the independent directors in the country. While some take them on with gusto, others are more or less resigned to the board’s stringent directives.
Kashmir-born Aamir Bashir, whose independent film Harud (Autumn), will see the darkness of the cinema halls two years after it was made, is content that his film will finally release despite the board’s rather ‘bizarre’ decision to object to its theatrical promos.
The reason behind this move is the appearance of the word Azaadi in the trailer. And the board wants Bashir to remove the ‘controversial’ word.
Bashir clarifies, “It’s not even a scene. It’s just a shot. And the funny thing is they’ve approved the entire film in which this shot is already present! I don’t understand the logic behind this move. They earlier wanted me to remove some dialogues which I did but now they want the visuals to be edited too.”
Due to lack of funds required for revising this decision, Bashir has decided not to contest. He adds, “Big banner films don’t face these sort of issues. It’s only independent filmmakers who bear the real brunt of censorship. Moreover, in today’s digital age, it doesn’t even make sense. If I want to show the deleted scenes or dialogues, all I have to do is upload them up on Internet.”
Harud is arguably the first indigenous independent film to come out of Kashmir. On being asked why he didn’t make the film in Kashmiri instead of Urdu, Bashir quips, “If we had made it in that language, it wouldn’t have even reached this far! I started working on the script nearly five years ago and to be able to see it release soon is what I’d call a minor miracle.”