CBFC censors Iranian film The Salesman, mutes the word ‘prostitute'

The board has also disallowed the telecast of the Hollywood film The Danish Girl on television. 

Keyur Seta

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), popularly known as the censor board, is unstoppable these days. Over the last few days, the board, under the leadership of Pahlaj Nihalani, has been in the news continuously for its eyebrow-raising cuts. 

In their latest diktat, they have muted the word ‘prostitute’ in Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning Iranian film, The Salesman, which will be releasing in India on 31 March. The audio goes mute during a scene where the protagonist, played by Shahab Hosseini, mentions that he doesn’t wish to use money earned by a prostitute. Even the subtitles go blank during the scene. 

It’s an important sequence as it defines the protagonist’s state of mind. But those who are not aware that the word ‘prostitute’ is used in the dialogue might not get the relevance of the sequence. There are also other instances in the film where the audio and subtitles go mute and subtitles go blank.

Iran is highly conservative when it comes to its films. So, to censor a film from that country has come as a huge surprise. 

Ironically, just recently, the CBFC passed abuses like ‘ga**u’ and ‘bh**va’ in Govinda’s Aa Gaya Hero and that too without giving it an adults-only certificate. 

This is not all, though. The board has disallowed the television telecast of the Hollywood film, The Danish Girl as they felt the subject is controversial and unsuitable for children. A board member told a publication, “The whole subject is controversial, and it’s unsuitable to be viewed by children. It talks about a man who wants a sex change and has a genital operation to become a woman. The subject is sensitive and how do you edit a subject like that?” 

Just a few days ago, the CBFC had asked to remove the phrase ‘Mann ki baat’ from an upcoming film, Sameer since Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a radio show by the same name. 

Nihalani was unavailable for comments despite repeated attempts.