Fenil and Bollywood

The Inside Story-Madhur and Censors at war over Jail

Posted on: October 28, 2009

By Joginder Tuteja, October 27, 2009 – 11:22 IST

jail1

Last week, Madhur Bhandarkar had presented his upcoming film Jail for a Censor certificate. While it is common news by now that his film was granted a U/A certificate, what hasn’t come out so far is the heated argument that went inside the confines of the four walls. Situation had turned so ugly that during the 45 minutes debate with the Censor officials, Madhur threatened to follow the path of many of his contemporaries in Bollywood and henceforth make only candy floss films. Reason being that Censors had a strong objection against usage of abusive language in certain scenes, depiction of jail inmates, a sex scene involving two gay inmates, skin show by Mugdha Godse and of course much hyped nude scene featuring Neil Nitin Mukesh.

Here is a blow by blow account on what actually transpired in the screening room:

“Once the film’s screening was through, Censors were quite happy with the realistic depiction of life in jail. They appreciated the fact that as promised, it was shown realistically without being overtly dramatized. Also, they felt that a movie like this was the need of an hour as it broke away from stereotype cinema and showed something new to the audiences. They congratulated Madhur for his brave effort and were liberal with compliments”, says a source closely attached to the film.

However, trouble began when it came down to handing over the Censor certificate to the film. Apparently, Censor board felt that the film was not at all suitable for underage audiences and hence was willing to grant only an ‘A’ certificate if the film was to be retained as it is. When Madhur asked for reasons, they came up with such a long list of objectionable scenes and dialogues that it completely flabbergasted the filmmaker, who has made a career out of depicting reality on screen.

“Madhur really didn’t know what hit him because he was quite sure that Censors would keep the theme of Jail in mind before passing the verdict. He was not at all expecting the ‘A’ certificate and the cuts suggested by the Censors were unacceptable to him. He felt that it was unfair on his movie since he had made it after such an extensive research. He couldn’t fathom why Censors were being harsh on the film when his intention was not to glamorize the entire jail world or give rise to any scandals”, recounts the source.

So what were these ‘objectionable points’ in the film that have resulted in such hue and cry? And what’s the counter argument given by the makers of Jail? Let’s have a look:

A dialogue mouthed by a police official to an inmate: ‘Danda neeche se daloonga aur moonh se nikaloonga’
Argument: You don’t expect police to be polite when they are dealing with criminals (or possible criminals). Moreover, Akshay Kumar (who had played a cop) had said the same to Irrfan Khan in Madhur’s own Aan – Men At Work.

Masturbation scene featuring Neil
Argument: How otherwise would an inmate let out his sexual frustration? Nevertheless, keeping the sensibilities of family audiences in mind, the scene has been deleted.

A dialogue mouthed by one of the characters: ‘Mumbai ki khudai Grant Road ki ch***i, kabhi khatam naho hone waali mere bhai
Argument: That’s a tapori way of speaking and the film does show such characters. No more comments.

Expletives like ch***a and more
Argument: You don’t expect a decent language when hundreds of men are lodged together in a jail. Even otherwise, there have been at least a dozen odd movies before Jail that have allowed liberal dose of colourful language.

A scene showing Mugdha’s cleavage
Argument: A very small part of the song ‘Saiyan Ve‘ shows Mugdha and Neil getting intimate with each other where her night dress slips down a little. Censors saw red in that. Wonder, as there has been far more skin show in practically every second film that releases today.

A scene showing two gay inmates making out with each other
Argument: Doesn’t that happen in jails worldwide? The scene features two gays getting intimate in a bathroom. Censors had objections to this which is surprising since Madhur’s own Page 3 had a similar scene. In any case, the dialogue has now been changed in Jail. However, the scene has been retained.

Neil’s nude scene
Argument: Censors felt that the scene was still quite bold for the Indian audience. However, it is a basic process where every inmate is required to strip down completely to reveal any weapons that he may be carrying. In any case, we had pixilated the scene but the Censors wanted it to be further blurred. We were left with no options.

Due to scenes as above going through a change and or in case even completely chopped off, Madhur was left fuming. More so because otherwise the Censors were unwilling to grant it even a U/A certificate.

When contacted, Madhur was expectedly diplomatic about the entire affair. Not willing to comment much, all he stated was – “I want my film to reach out to a larger audience. I am happy with the U/A certificate. Censors were working in their own set parameters and I don’t want to challenge that.”

However, the source continues, “Ironically, this is not the first time that Madhur’s films have faced an axe from Censors. We don’t really have to go very deep down the memory lane for this. Fashion got an ‘A’ certificate and still, it was such a good success. On the other hand, both Page 3 and Traffic Signal were given U/A certificate, but they went on to get National Awards for Madhur. We are just hoping that the same happens for Jail as well though it would have been great had the film been retained as it is.”

Bollywood Hungama.com

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