Censor Sensibility

I am honestly quite baffled by the ratings that our esteemed Censor Board awards to movies.

For example, Bajaatey Raho (we got complimentary tickets, and who says no to freebies? šŸ™‚ ) has as much violence or sex as a KJo movie, which is to say, practically none. Most of the so-called “objectionable” stuff was mainly in the dialogues, which kids cannot follow much anyways, unlike the visuals and sound effects.

Yet, Bajaatey Raho and Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwaani were rated U/A, which means ‘Unrestricted public exhibition with parental guidance for children below age 12’. OK, that’s fair enough. After all, the former shows dubious means of getting even, and the latter shows a lot of alcohol being imbibed. So, I don’t really mind them being rated U/A.

However, take Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. It is rated U, which means ‘Unrestricted Public Exhibition throughout India, suitable for all age groups’. I was very happy to see that rating, and I was keen on taking Lil D to this ‘inspirational’ movie. However, she did not want to come even after a lot of persuasion. Finally, I decided to go and see the movie with my sister instead. And boy! Was I ever so glad!

BMB has such explicit violent scenes of the partition! You have a ten year old boy slipping in a pool of blood and landing on a heap of dead bodies, slithering desperately as he tries to get away from it all. You have a brutal beheading, and the camera lingers on till the neck is inches away from snapping completely. There is a fair share of nightmarish images of horsemen and hysterical horses.

The in-your-face scenes at the refugee camp are also rather unsettling, I would think, for a young child. A knife-toting young Milkha looks very real and disturbing. A rather suggestive scene later involving Milkha and his Aussie sweetheart is also filmed in a rather direct manner, which did make some parents uncomfortable. When I spoke to them later, they weren’t too keen on sending their kids for the movie either.

How did such a movie get a U rating? It was a fantastic movie no doubt, but it was not the kind of movie to which I would have taken Lil D, had I known. I know most of her friends too would have got rather disturbed by some of the scenes.

I don’t know — perhaps kids are now hardened or more immune to all this stuff — but if I were the Censor Board, I would certainly not think that this movie was suitable for all age groups. I would definitely think parental guidance was required, which means it would fall into the U/A rating.

I remember Band Baaja Baaraat, also rated U, where the sleeping together scene kind of took us all by surprise. I wondered at that time if I was some old-fashioned aunty. But now I’m quite sure it’s not just me.

The Censor Board’s ratings are not to be trusted, which is rather a pity. Reviews that specify whether a movie is safe for viewing with kids or not are non-existent in India. The only way to ensure you play it safe is to see the movie twice — one to judge for yourself, and once with the kids! Not worth the trouble, methinks!

4 thoughts on “Censor Sensibility

  1. True…I had not given it much thought, but yes, it is quite disturbing at times to have youngsters watch too much violence or intimate scenes. Our way of dealing with this has been to stress again and again that movies are the result of someone’s imagination, and it is not be believed as is..but then what actually remains in the head could be what they saw on screen!

    One alternative to having to watch it twice – with some of the multiplexes here in Bengaluru, you can actually go in and get the kids settled in the seats (with 3D glasses and all if need be), and come out. I suppose it depends on the security supervisor…some are sensible enough to understand parental concern and allow this, and I always make it a point to profusely thank them for this. Have been lucky I suppose…there surely will be someone someplace who will think the parent wants to sneak in for free. Disclaimer: Have done this only with kids who were 9 years or older, and for movies that they wanted to see, but I did not…

  2. That’s nice of them to allow you to go in and get the kids settled. Have never tried that.
    You know, they ought to give us parental discounts so that we can check the movie out first, if they can’t provide accurate ratings! šŸ˜€

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