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Earlier Banned By the CBFC, ‘Haraamkhor’ Now Gets Certified ‘UA’

It’s once again time for the CBFC to realise how redundant they are.

Updated
Entertainment
3 min read
Earlier Banned By the CBFC, ‘Haraamkhor’ Now Gets Certified ‘UA’

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In June this year, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) refused to give debutant director Shlok Sharma’s film Haraamkhor a censor certificate. This meant that the members which viewed the film found it unfit to be screened in India, they had effectively ‘banned’ it. However, after a rather long battle, the makers of this Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Shweta Tripathi-starrer have now got a ‘UA’ certificate and a release date for their film.

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Haraamkhor revolves around an illicit relationship between a school teacher and his teenage student, which is what irked the sanskaari CBFC the first time. Speaking to The Quint, Shlok Sharma says, “The first time, the CBFC told us point blank that they would not certify the film, which came as a shock to us. But we knew we had made a responsible film and were ready to fight for our right to get it certified and released.”

Co-producer Guneet Monga adds, “We had just won at MAMI and we were told that it was an important film that needs to be show across India. I am emphasising MAMI because it’s something that we as Indians celebrate, I am not trying to say I won an award outside India. We actually ended up showing CBFC the video of us winning the award, hoping that it would somehow convince them about the merits of the film. Like kids we were were trying to tell them ‘dekho humne yeh speech di thi...’, to explain that this film comes with a message, but the whole concept was lost on them.”

A poster of Haraamkhor which releases on 13 January 2017.
The Examining Committee of the CBFC felt that the entire theme of the film - wherein a school teacher has an affair with his student - was objectionable. “If you remember, CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s own film Andaz had Karishma Kapoor as a schoolgirl in uniform trying to seduce her teacher Anil Kapoor, which seems to be fine, but my film which is more realistic was refused a certification,” points out Shlok.
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The makers of Haraamkhor refused to accept the CBFC’s decision and approached the Revising Committee with their film. The committee was more lenient, after seeing the film they agreed to certify the film for ‘Adults’ certificate provided the team was willing to make 4 or 5 cuts. “They had asked for some crucial scenes to be cut, which would have completely destroyed my film, the story and narrative would not have made any sense if we had accepted those cuts,” explains Shlok.

Shweta Tripathi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Haraamkhor.

At this point, the team decided to take their battle to the Film Certification Appelate Tribunal (FCAT) and after a long wait for over months, Haraamkhor finally got a decision in its favour. “They gave it a UA certificate and just asked me to trim a couple of scenes, which really don’t affect my film,” says a relieved Shlok.

“It’s a landmark verdict - a film going from being technically ‘banned’ to getting a ‘UA’ certificate is unheard of. In all my years of working as a producer I’ve never faced this kind of a problem from the CBFC,” adds Guneet.
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Besides winning one of the top honours at MAMI in 2015, Haraamkhor premiered earlier at the New York Indian Film Festival, where Nawazuddin won the Best Actor award. The film also got a grant from filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra at the Film Bazaar last year.

While team Haraamkhor rejoices, it’s once again time for CBFC to sit up and realise what a redundant, regressive and obsolete system they’re running. And yes, thank you FCAT for keeping the faith.

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Topics:  CBFC   Guneet Monga   Haraamkhor 

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