CBFC refuses certification to award winning Haraamkhor: Board ka badla?

The board has refused certification to the film on the grounds that it shows teachers in bad light. The co-producer of the film is a familiar antagonist, Anurag Kashyap.

Shriram Iyengar

The last couple of weeks saw Anurag Kashyap and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) at loggerheads over the certification of director Abhishek Chaubey's Udta Punjab. Kashyap won that battle after the Bombay high court ruled in the film's favour, but the CBFC, better known as the censor board, may be having its revenge now. The board has refused certification to Shlok Sharma's award-winning film, Haraamkhor, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The film is being co-produced by – you guessed it! – Anurag Kashyap.

The CBFC has objected to the film's theme, which revolves around the relationship of a young girl with her tuition teacher. According to reports, the board did not ask for any cuts or changes to the film, but simply refused to certify it. The key objection to the film was that 'it shows teachers in bad light'. 

The film premiered at the New York Indian Film Festival in 2016 and won Siddiqui the Best Actor award at the festival. It was also presented with the Silver Gateway of India trophy at the 17th MAMI Film Festival last year. 

Guneet Monga, of Sikhya Entertainment, one of the producers, said, "Yes, they refused to give us a certificate saying the theme of the film is objectionable. They didn't ask for any cuts, just refused to pass the film, saying that it puts teachers in bad light." 

The producers plan to approach the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). Monga said, "We will now follow the procedure and take our movie to FCAT." Asked if the producers would approach the courts if the problem persisted, she replied, "I hope not. I hope the issue gets resolved." 

Kashyap was one of the producers who took the board to court for trying to 'censor' Udta Punjab. The prospect of the next Kashyap film facing the same problem is too soon to be called just a coincidence. It remains to be seen how Kashyap deals with this one.