Filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani was pleasantly surprised when the censor board didn't take scissors to the title of his upcoming film 'Saala Khadoos'.
The Central Board of Film Certification, under chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, has run into controversies because of its conservative approach when it comes to swear-words. It even truncated the kissing scenes in the Bond film "Spectre".
"I was worried about our film. I thought 'Saala' will be deleted... we have 'Saala' in the title itself, and there is 'Saala' in a song. But they did nothing... except at a point they asked us to beep the word 'Saali' besides one or two more cuts," Hirani, who has produced the movie, told PTI in an interview here.
"I was happy for one-two cuts where the girl gets offensive. I never used to like that line too much but the director (Sudha Prasad) insisted she wanted that line. But when we went to censor board they asked us to delete that part."
The director of superhit films like 'Munnabhai' and '3 Idiots' did ask the board why a cuss-word gets cleared in one film and snipped in another.
"I asked them about certain words being deleted in one film while not getting the cut in other movies. They said usually in the films, after "Saala" another offensive word comes and hence it is deleted. They did not mention any film," he said.
"They said they have no problem with the word "Saala", it is just about the context in which it is used. In our film it is not offensive," he added.
"Saala Khadoos", a Tamil-Hindi sports drama, features R Madhavan in the leading role as a boxing coach and newcomer Ritika Singh as an aspiring boxer.
"When I first heard the story from Maddy (Madhavan), I was moved. It is an inspiring film. Sports films are usually about underdogs and in the end one comes out as a winner. It is a feel-good film," Hirani said.
He, however, was initially sceptical due to its casting.
"I was sceptical since they were casting a boxer. A boxer can do boxing but what about acting? When they got Ritika (who is a boxer) for the film and I saw a strange innocence in her ...I felt she could do it. There were no second thoughts there after," he said Hirani admits that it is difficult to find a producer when the film has an unusual story.
"We need somebody who believes in the script. Whenever the subjects are unusual it gets difficult. When Madhavan was working on this film 'Mary Kom' had not released, so everyone wondered whether a woman boxing film will work," he said.