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Kabir Khan, Shyam Benegal join voices against CBFC diktat on Lipstick Under My Burkha 

Following the CBFC's refusal to Alankrita Shrivastava's film for being 'lady oriented', directors Kabir Khan and Shyam Benegal have spoken against the policies of the board to 'censor' filmmakers. 

Shriram Iyengar

After the shocking denial of the CBFC to allow Alankrita Shrivastava's Lipstick Under My Burkha a certification, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has stirred up the film industry once again. Several directors, artists, and filmmakers have come out in open condemnation of this move by the board. 

At the screening of the short film, The Strange Smile, director Kabir Khan lashed out against the decision, calling it 'absolutely ridiculous.' He said, "“It’s a strange situation and problem lies when these kind of incidents are happening regularly. Watching a film is a voluntary act. It is not forced on anyone and two-three people sitting out there in CBFC cannot take decision for the entire society, which is absolutely ridiculous." Khan also added that it is time the industry stood up against such censorship. He said, " Now the time has come for the industry people to formally stand up against this and shout for their rights." 

The director had even tweeted his disapproval of the decision yesterday. 

Khan is not the only director to be up in arms. Farhan Akhtar, Ashoke Pandit, and Prakash Jha had come out against the decision. Even veteran director Shyam Benegal, who had headed the committee for reforms to the Cinematograph Act in 2016, spoke against the move. The director said, "I am totally against the fact that CBFC should ban a movie or ask the filmmaker to cut some scenes. I have always stood up for classification of films, not censoring them." Benegal added that he was shocked by the CBFC's reasoning for the refusal. He said, "What are they even trying to say? Are they saying women's fantasies are worse than men's fantasies? I cannot understand. I don't think CBFC is there to tell the public, what they should see and what they should not see." 

Lipstick Under My Burkha director slams CBFC, Nihalani plays victim card

Shyam Benegal had headed the committee under the suggestion of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to submit a series of reforms to improve the Indian Cinematograph Act. Benegal said, "Information and Broadcasting Ministry formed a committee and I was a part of that committee. We did a report in two parts and looked at all the aspects of classification and censorship of films. The first part of the report was submitted in April 2016 and the concluding report in October 2016. Till this date, no comment has been made by them. But there were reports that the government is going to adopt most of the recommendations." 

This would be the second time the industry has taken up arms against the 'censor' board for its decision, after the legal fight over Abhishek Chaubey's Udta Punjab (2016). The verdict of Udta Punjab went against the board, but it does not seem to have had any effect on its decision making. 

Lipstick Under My Burkha is directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, and stars Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Plabita Borthakur and Aahana Kumra in lead roles, along with Vikrant Massey, Shashank Arora and Sushant Singh. The film won the Spirit of Asia award at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality at the Mumbai Film Festival 2016.