mid-day editorial: You can't censor reality

It’s been a while since the filmmakers have been up in protest against the archaic ways of the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and its unreasonable diktats. The protests, however, have not yielded any solid results. While the current filmmakers are in no mood to settle down and compromise with whatever cuts the CBFC recommends, this rebellious attitude seems to have only propelled the Board members to get more and more obsolete with their views.

Anurag Kashyap and his company justifiably decided to take their next release, Udta Punjab, directly to FCAT (Film Certification Appellate Tribunal), when the censor board demanded certain cuts. The film puts the spotlight on the rampant drug problem in Punjab. Now, reports suggest that the FCAT has recommended dropping Punjab from the title of the film, and make it appear like a story set in a fictional place.

The decision was apparently prompted by protests by the Akali Dal members claiming the film was ‘defaming Punjab’. If this is true, it is tragic that the film is being curtailed so brutally just because it shows a mirror to certain harsh truths and could go on to be instrumental in bringing about a change for the better. It is sad that the censor bard or the FCAT doesn’t have the sensitivity to know the difference between a story being told for the sake of sensationalism, and a true account of an issue that is not only backed by solid research but is public knowledge in country.

Why have we become such a cowardly nation, refusing to see the obvious and opting to please anyone who chooses to get offended? Political correctness must not be allowed to mask the hard truths in our nation. Cinema is one of the few mediums that can be a major contributor in bringing about social change. If that medium is faced with an insensitive hurdle like this, there seems no hope left for the film industry and for the country.

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