Is censorship freedom in the prison yard?

In his weekly column, Vikram Bhatt writes about CBFC and the ban on the film Lipstick Under My Burkha.
vikram bhatt,CBFC,Lipstick Under My Burkha
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The CBFC or the Central Board of Film Certification has once again been in the eye of the storm with the film Lipstick Under My Burkha and the Malayalam film, Ka Bodyscapes for being refused a certificate citing various cinematograph guideline violations.
 
As soon as an event like this takes place all of us rush to Twitter or the other socia medial platforms like Facebook to voice our strong objection against the regressive attitude of the board or then to read the vitriol others may be pasting there.
 
On many an occasion I get a call from the news channels for a small byte of what I might think on the matter at hand. Now, I have been down with an injury and have not really spent much time keeping up to speed with the going on in the world of entertainment. So when I got a call from a news channel asking me on what I thought about the refusal of a certificate to the film Ka Bodyscapes, I had to beg ignorance and promise to have a more studied opinion once I got to the reason why it was refused a certificate.
 
When I did my research, I found that it was the case of the usual suspects. Homosexuality, bad language, law and order problems that might arise out of hurting religious sentiments and a few more objectionable opinions of the filmmaker.
 
There was one little objection in a bracket that said something to the effect of likening the God Hanuman as being Gay. When I read that I found my otherwise liberal mind fill with rage. I have been someone who did the Hanuman Chalisa seven times a day and I am still a huge Hanuman devotee. To read that my God was made the object of ridicule did not go down well with me at all and I am being euphemistic when I say that. I was glad that it was refused a certificate. For once I was with the board.
 
But a few hours later I was still troubled and I had no idea why. On my way back home through the dark city streets it struck me that I was troubled because it was unlike me to feel any joy in some creative voice being thwarted. Yet, that voice had me in a rage, then why was I forcing myself to be liberal? It would be safe to call it a dilemma of a substantial proportion.
 
I decided to do some surfing on the Internet, something, anything that would assuage my harassed mind. I came across a lot of writing and commentaries on the Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ. The film had an audacious and extremely different take on the final moments of The Christ but what was more interesting for me to read was the judgment of the court when the state of Chile sought to ban the film. The sense I got on reading was that the Court had reasoned that freedom of expression could not be at the mercy of what or whom it might hurt.
 
I sat back stunned. This was the matter at hand. There will always be an individual or a group of individuals who will be opposed to your opinion or your expression for that matter. I was in the opposition on this matter. But was my opposition a reason enough for an expression to be banned?
 
There cannot be partial freedom. There cannot be some things you are allowed and other things that you are not allowed. Freedom is freedom and if it is partial then it is not freedom. Freedom has to be complete and unconditional. Freedom cannot be “allowed” for if it is allowed then it's not freedom. It has to be a state in which one exists. It cannot be a state where one is “allowed to exist”. For if freedom is “allowed” it means that it can also be “disallowed”.
 
Every opinion will find takers but every opinion will find its detractors. Are we going to select who is allowed to detract and who is not? Every person has the right to have a voice and everyone must have the right to oppose that voice! But no one should have the right to squash any of these two voices. Vaad, vivaad and Samvaad, is the Indian legacy. It is our culture, our heritage. So to the keepers of our culture I would like to say, should we start with absolute freedom?

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