mid-day editorial: Society can take it, even if the censors can't

By  mid-day correspondent | Posted  06-Mar-2017

Call it the great Indian gay paradox. Even as filmmaker Karan Johar is making the front page everywhere for having become a father of twins through surrogacy, Malayalam film Ka Bodyscapes has been banned because the ‘sanskaari’ Censor Board has deemed that it glorifies homosexuality.

The Censor Board stands firm despite the Kerala High Court ordering the Central Board of Film Certificate (CBFC) to issue a certification within 30 days after snipping “objectionable” parts. This comes just after the Censor Board refused to clear the award-winning Hindi film, Lipstick Under My Burkha, labeling it “lady-oriented”. Ka Bodyscapes highlights LGBT and feminist movements. The film holds a mirror to Kerala’s fundamentalism and movements to counter this, such as the Kiss of Love campaign and LGBT pride marches.

Why take the extreme move of banning a movie? Could there not have been some cuts - and these too should have been kept minimal - to allow for a release? If the censors are worried about the homosexual content in the film, they should have seen the robust response and participation in the Gay Pride March earlier this year. Karan Johar’s surrogacy news too chips away at the stigma and smashes notions that only heterosexual couples can
become parents.

The people’s actions should be an indication that such blanket bans are out of sync with public sentiment. There cannot be an automatic assumption about hurting community feelings. Let the Board explore options like an ‘A’ certificate or demand a few cuts, but the effort should always be to try hard to release a film or any work of art, rather than the other way around. Narrowing spaces equals to narrowing minds, let’s keep the canvas of discourse as wide as possible.

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