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CBFC cuts out Dutt from Barkha in Noor

Noor, Sonakshi Sinha’s character, idolises Barkha Dutt and aspires to be like her. The CBFC requested the makers to remove the reference.

Mayur Lookhar

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) keeps making headlines for the bizarre film cuts it demands. The CBFC has thrown a surprise again by asking makers of Sonakshi Sinha-starrer Noor not to use seasoned journalist Barkha Dutt’s name as a reference in their film.

Buzz has it that the Pahlaj Nihalani-led team asked the makers to delete the word Dutt from their film. Noor, Sinha’s character, idolises Barkha Dutt and aspires to be like her. The CBFC requested the makers to remove the reference.

“Referring to real-life characters without their consent is not allowed. We gave them the option of either getting the well-known journalist’s permission or to beep out the direct reference to her," a CFBC member told digital journalism website The Quint. Director Sunhil Sippy confirmed that CBFC asked them to make the cut.

"Noor, that’s Sonakshi Sinha, aspires to be like Barkha and looks up to her. They cut the ‘Dutt’ so as not to refer to a living person. We are okay with that," said Sippy.

Meanwhile, the senior television journalist found the whole episode bizarre.

“I haven’t seen the film but from what I understand the two references to me are very complimentary and in the context of a young woman who aspires to be a journalist. So really, I am unable to understand what part of this lends itself to censorship. Seems rather bizarre for the censor board to decide for the filmmakers or for me since I am a public person after all, and this reference hardly seems anything the censor board should have a view on. Rather whimsical I think to now make my name a subject of censorship,” Dutt said.

Dutt later posted a tweet mocking the CBFC’s decision.

Dutt has been popularly used as an inspiration in Hindi films before. Preity Zinta’s look in Hrtihik Roshan-starrer Lakshya (2004) was inspired by the senior journalist.

Noor is a film about a journalist. So, it’s natural for the character to have a a senior journalist as an idol.

Dutt’s reputation took a beating when her name was dragged into the controversial Niira Radia tapes, pertaining to the infamous 2G scam, where former telecom minister A Raja was a prime accused. Dutt was one the journalist whose conversations with corporate lobbyist Radia were taped by the income-tax department. In her conversations with Dutt and other journalists, Radia allegedly attempted to use some media persons to influence the decision to appoint A Raja as telecom minister.

Earlier, the Nihalani-led CBFC had refused to certify Lipstick Under My Burkha for being too "lady-oriented". The same board had sought to chop a kissing scene from the last James Bond film Spectre as it felt it was inappropriate for a widow to kiss another man shortly after her husband’s death.