The CBFC has asked filmmaker Ruchi Narain to make several ‘verbal cuts’ in her animated film on Hanuman. The CBFC believes that the film might offend religious sentiments (as always) of some.
According to a report in the HT, the CBFC has not asked for cuts or changes to animated films so far, especially animated films dealing with characters from mythology. The report quotes Nihalani, who says, “Normally animation films, and that too one about a mythological theme would be passed without a hitch. But this film has lots of dialogue featuring children, which may offend religious sentiments.”
But Ruchi Narain says that what the CBFC found offensive is just the simplified, colloquial language used to make the character more accessible to children. However, Nihalani feels this is justified. He said, “That may be so. But the trendy language applied to religious characters may not be taken in the right spirit by everyone. We have to be very careful about religious content. Yes, we’ve cut quite a few of the dialogues. But better safe than sorry.”
He says that the UA certificate given to the film is valid: “Children can come and watch the film with their parents. Problem kya hai?” he asks.
This is not the first time that Pahlaj Nihalani has created controversy.
He had earlier asked makers of the film Phillauri to mute the words of the Hanuman Chalisa which featured in the film. His argument: the prayer was powerful enough to drive away ghosts, but the film shows the opposite happening. This could hurt religious sentiments. CBFC also put extraordinary pressure on the makers of the film An Insignificant Man, to get a ‘No Objection’ certificate from the Prime Minister of India, Chief Minister of Delhi and other politicians, in order to clear the film for release.
He also came under fire recently for insisting that filmmakers who screen their films in international film festivals need a censor certificate. Critics of the CBFC Chairman have alleged that Pahlaj Nihalani is overstepping his authority.