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Mohalla Assi makers file contempt plea against CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi 

The Delhi high court, on 11 December, had directed the CBFC to clear the film with one cut. However, the board filed a review petition.

Shriram Iyengar

Crossword Entertainment, the makers of the delayed Sunny Deol starrer, Mohalla Assi, have filed a contempt plea against Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson, Prasoon Joshi, on his failure to comply with the orders of the Delhi high court to pass the film with one cut. 

The film has been languishing in a fight between the makers and the CBFC, which has declined a certificate demanding 11 cuts to the film. The makers had approached the Delhi high court to intervene in the matter. On 11 December, the court directed the board to issue an 'A' certification for the fillm for exhibition within one week. 

The court had also quashed 9 out of the board's 10 modifications to the film. According the online website, Bar and Bench, the CBFC had objected to the use of expletives in the film, while also demanding to remove every mention of 'temple' and 'toilet' in the film. 

However, the Delhi high court directed the board to provide a certification, with a suggestion to the makers of the film to add a disclaimer at the beginning of the film. The court also quashed the board's demands to censor out a cuss word uttered by a man dressed as Lord Shiva for a play in the film. 

The Indian Express, a daily, reported that judge Sanjeev Sachdeva had also observed that the language, including the expletives, was a part of the city of Varanasi and its culture. 

The board has currently not complied to the directive, and has filed a review petition. The contempt review was heard by the bench of justice AK Chawla, who directed the board to file a compliance report in the next 5 days. The matter will be heard on 12 January 2018.

The film is based on the novel Kashi Ka Assi by Kashinath Singh, and is a satire on the globalization of the ancient city of Kashi. The film has Sunny Deol and Sakshi Tanwar in the lead roles, and is directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi. 

The film ran into trouble in 2015, when an FIR was filed against the makers of the film for using abusive language, and 'hurting public sentiments'.

This is the third such instance of a filmmaker turning the the courts to overturn a CBFC decision following S Durga earlier this year, and Udta Punjab (2016) last year.