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Who decides what is 'dirty'?

Big Brother certainly is spending a great deal of time watching over us. Or is he? Take the case of The Dirty Picture — a film that, may we remind you, managed to win lead actress Vidya Balan a National Award — which was to air on television over the weekend. The channel promoted this viewing event for a month, only to be told at the last minute that it was too risqué to be shown before 11 pm.

This happened despite the film being given U/A certification and the creators agreeing to a reported 52 cuts based on suggestions from the Central Board of Film Certification.

The government was probably worried about the influence the film could possibly have on our pure, unsullied minds. Who knows what it would make us do? How would we, the innocent millions, react to a display of cleavage on television? What would happen to our ancient culture?

Big Brother didn’t seem to be as concerned a couple of months ago, when a television serial aired a much-talked about love-making scene featuring its two lead actors, Ram Kapoor and Saakshi Tanwar. If we remember correctly, that tasteful episode didn’t air after 11 pm. Miraculously, we survived and even managed to watch subsequent episodes featuring the amorous couple.

Big Brother doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about what our children watch either. Not so long ago, for instance, a cartoon show titled Shin Chan featured a five-year-old with a filthy mouth. The show aired well before bedtime.

Who gets to decide what we can and cannot watch anyway? If there’s something we find offensive, what stops us from simply looking at something else? If Vidya Balan gyrating to a song on television is so morally reprehensible, can’t we switch to National Geographic?   

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