Central Board of Film Certification CEO Anurag Shrivastav says five women have watched Lipstick Under My Burkha and all of them stand by the decision to not award the film a certificate.
The Central Board of Film Certification refused to give a censor certificate to film Lipstick Under My Burkha by director Alankrita Shrivastava. In the notice sent to the filmmaker, the board said, “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society hence film refused under guidelines 1(a), 2(viii), 2 (ix), 2(x), 2 (xi), 2 (xii) and 3 (I).” The notice is signed by the regional officer of the board.
Apart from bad english, the words “the story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life” in the notice have made the Twitterati badger the CBFC. CEO of the CBFC, Anurag Shrivastav accepts that the lines should not have been written there. He clarifies why this happened, “We are short-staffed and only we know how we are working.”
Anurag himself has not seen the film in question, but he says that there were two committees who saw Lipstick Under My Burkha. “The censor board guidelines say that half the members of the viewing committee and even the revising committee should be women. But instead of four, we had five women watching the film. All of them felt that the film could not be given a certificate under the Cinematograph Act (1952) and the decision was unanimous.”
The committees that saw Lipstick Under My Burkha did not even think that the film could have been given a certificate with a few cuts. Shrivastav said, “We have very very few films that are refused certificates. Most films are given certificates. There is a provision for giving certificates after cuts. If the committee felt that the film could have been passed with a few cuts, then the committee would have said so; but it’s the committee who decides that.”
In the recent past, the film Udta Punjab had approached the Bombay High Court against the Censor Board ordering a few cuts in the film. While dictating the order, the Bombay High Court had ruled that the job of the censor board was to only give a certificate not censor movies. Shrivastav said, “Yes, our job is to give a certificate but if you look at it, even the Bombay High Court passed Udta Punjab with one cut.”
Regarding Lipstick Under My Burkha, Anurag added, If they go to court or to the film tribunal and if either of them orders us to give the certificate, then we will give it. We do not have any problem with the filmmakers. The committee felt that a certificate should not be given, so as a rule, we could not.