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There is no creative freedom: Nawazuddin at press conference against CBFC

Satish Kaushik, Sudhir Mishra, Alankrita Shrivastava, Rahul Dholakia, Abhishek Chaubey and others addressed a press conference against diktats enforced by the CBFC.

Our Correspondent

A number of filmmakers came together in support of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz at a press conference organized by the Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA). This move comes after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) ordered as many as 48 cuts in the film.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the lead actor of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, expressed his views about the controversy for the first time. He spoke about the current 'sorry' situation where freedom of expression is in danger. “The situation is such that I have to count my words. There is no creative freedom,” he said.

The actor highlighted the importance of the abusive language used in the film. “These words and language are important. The local flavour is important for character and story growth. As an actor I think if the film has local flavour, the film will become global. My character is not polished. How can I not use abusive language?” he added. 

Bidita Bag, the lead actress of the film, took a dig at the CBFC in a sarcastic way. “I am missing my grandparents a lot today. They used to tell me to have this, don’t have this, eat this, etc. The CBFC is acting like grandparents. Seventy per cent Indians are adults. Why are we told what to do and what not to do? People can watch porn for free on the internet, but people are told what to do when they spend money.”

She also defended the inclusion of bold, love-making scenes in the film. “Films are a slice of life, in real life also, we make love so why can't people show all that on screen?. The CBFC needs to grow up, become more global in nature. CBFC is not a part of the society any more. They are too judgemental. We used to make films for money. Now the young filmmakers want to make films because they want to tell a story,” she added. 

Kiran Shroff, the producer of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, alleged the CBFC members for making sexist comments against her and her clothing.

Director Abhishek Chaubey, whose film Udta Punjab (2016) faced the irk of the CBFC last year, highlighted the behaviour of the board members. “I have also had the same experience. The CBFC office created an environment of threat, and they are regressive. Our films are being judged by people who force their personal liking. It is not just how they think, but also how they behave with us. We filmmakers are not here to ruin the society. So why are we treated like this?” he asked. 

Director Rahul Dholakia of Raees (2017) fame, pointed out that Nihalani might be following government’s order. “This problem is bigger than the censor board. There are so many problems against the chairman but he is still there. So, he is definitely following someone’s orders. How are you supposed to make film and conduct commerce in a place like this?” he said. 

Veteran actor and filmmaker Satish Kaushik, who was also present at the event, spoke up against the CBFC for the first time. “I have had this experience when I have stood in front of the CBFC guys. Today’s filmmakers want to be fearless. Today’s filmmakers won’t make regressive films. Their films are more global and reflect everyday life. So what’s the problem with CBFC?” 

Director Alankrita Shrivastava also echoed the same sentiments and said that this problem never ends. Her film Lipstick Under My Burkha was refused certification earlier by the CBFC, only to be passed after much ado.

Other people present at the press conference included filmmakers Sudhir Mishra, Anubhav Sinha and producer Madhu Mantena.