The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) lead by Pahlaj Nihalani has ordered that several words be muted in Suman Ghosh’s documentary on Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian.
Ever since the order there has been an intellectual uproar over the issue. But, Nihalani explains why those cuts were needed. The CBFC wanted Ghosh to mute words such as India, Hindutva, cow, Gujarat and Hindu.”We felt a documentary on an Indian Nobel laureate referring insensitively to our politics and religion could result in a serious breach in the peace and harmony of the country. For instance, there is a point in the documentary where Sen interprets India as Hindu, so, we ordered a cut for the word Hindu. Also, there is a reference to the enemy in India being religious leadership and we wanted the word India to be removed. Then, while Sen a makes a frivolous reference to the cow, we ordered a cut for the word cow. And, in one place Sen refers to the Hindutva view of India as ‘banal’. So, we asked for the offensive adjective to be removed,” Nihalani told IANS.
Nihalani wants documentary director Suman Ghosh to calm down, and elaborates, “Referring to a cow in a flippant manner or calling Hindutva ‘banal’ could breach the communal harmony of the country. When filmmakers talk about freedom of expression, they should know that such freedom comes with responsibility. Simply reacting because six words are beeped out when they, in no way, affect your artistic freedom is just a knee-jerk reaction. Please look at the larger picture.”