The Common Man Speaks

10Jun/180

Kaala: Rajinikanth makes his dislike for Hindutva politics loud and clear

Rajinikanth

Superstar Rajinikanth announced his entry into politics on 31 December 2017 but has so far kept mum about which side he belongs to. There is no name for his party yet, so similarly there is no party flag or colour either. But through his latest release Kaala, he has made his dislike for Right Wing and Hindutva politics loud and clear, which proves that his party’s colour is surely not Saffron. So much so that it is not mere a subtext.

SPOILERS ALERT

The Pa Ranjith directorial makes no qualms throughout the film about its severe dislike for the Saffron brigade and portraying them as villains. So, we have Nana Patekar as Hari Prasad who is the head honcho of a Saffron-clad party, thereby hinting towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He wants to build towers in Dharavi and doesn’t care a damn about its residents.

He is so self-obsessed that he makes sure his face appears everywhere and anywhere in Mumbai. He keeps making references from epics like Ramayana. He promotes initiatives like ‘Pure Mumbai’ and ‘Digital Dharavi.’ Now, you don’t need to be even close to a political expert to know whom they are indicating at.

Rajinikanth

Rajinikanth in Kaala

The builders who are hell bent in redeveloping Dharavi for their own good are called Manu Realty. Another clear criticism of the most hated ancient text, Manusmriti. A shop in Dharavi is seen selling beef, which is something the Right Wing considers blasphemous.

‘Epic’ comparison

Kaala even goes to the extent of reversing the Ramayana, called the Hindu epic. Patekar is shown as Ram, who has nicknamed Rajinikanth as Raavan. Evil elements committing atrocities against the downtrodden is, over here, Ram teaching a lesson to Raavan. Rajini’s men coming up one after the other in a fight scene are described as different heads of Raavan. And, of course, Dharavi is a symbol for Lanka.

But that’s not all as far as Hindu Gods are concerned. The evil doer is called Hari and his subordinate Vishnu. Ideally, it should be the other way round since Krishna was Vishnu’s avatar. But Kaala is a reverse journey, so that’s purely intentional. It’s Kalyug, so the avatar is more powerful than the creator and Ram is not noble.

Dalit angle

Rajini’s character is shown to be as a messiah of Dalits (I hate labeling anyone on the basis of their caste but it’s needed here for understanding). Gautam Buddha’s temple and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s picture are shown around him quite a few times and his locality is called Bhim Nagar.

Nana Patekar in Kaala

Nana Patekar in Kaala

In fact, during a confrontational scene with Hari Prasad, Kaala declares, ‘I am ready to fight even ‘your’ God.’ This line subtly indicates the renouncement of Hinduism and embracing of Buddism by Dalits.

There is an article where Rajini’s die-hard fans are urging people to take Kaala as just another fictional film. But it surely won’t make any sense if Rajinikanth wholeheartedly bashes Saffron politics in a movie and supports the same in real life. As we all know, onscreen image of superstars is taken so seriously in India.

Maybe Kaala is more like a push for Rajini’s political career and his own way of revealing his political side.

P.S: Earlier in the year, Kamaal Hassan had said that it is unlikely that he would align with Rajinikanth if his political colour is Saffron. So are we in for something big?

By: Keyur Seta

3Jun/180

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero: A film that forced me to go down memory lane

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

How I found director Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is not the aim of this article (still if you are too curious, you can scroll down for the snippet review). More importantly, the Harshvardhan Kapoor starrer created a deep, personal connect with me, which rarely happens.

The base of the film’s story is social activist Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption (IAC) movement of 2011 for the passing of Jan Lokpal Bill. It compels the characters of Kapoor and Priyanshu Painyuli, his best friend, to start their own movement against injustice through the medium of a YouTube channel called Insaaf TV.

They go around stopping people against wrongdoings like urinating in public, not following traffic rules, etc. The issues might sound petty but they mean a lot to them. It was their selfless contribution towards, what was then considered, India’s biggest fight against corruption or any kind of wrongdoings.

The movement is one of the biggest events in my life. Never even in the wildest of my dreams did I ever imagine lakhs of ordinary people selflessly taking on the streets waving Indian flags while demanding change (not chhutta or khulla paisa, please), which would also include me. The long march in heavy rains from Bandra station to Juhu circle still feels like last week.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

I remember few people whom I had acquainted then confidently predicting that the country is in for a major change now and this is in a way the second Independence movement. I thought this is far-fetched but still felt like agreeing with them. After all, the scenes looked like flashback portions from India’s freedom struggle.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero also touches upon the diminishing impact of the movement during the second phase in December 2011. Just like the two characters, I and many others were standing disappointed, wondering how it all fizzled out so soon.

The film characters continued their fight, which saw dangerous percussions including death. This doesn’t deter Kapoor’s character. In fact, the death of his friend makes him a superhero of a kind who unmasks the corrupt while wearing a mask. Without giving away the climax, I would just add that the hero’s fight wasn’t like any other Hindi film where he would win against all odds.

This is where my path diverted from the film’s characters’. I didn’t venture out to be a superhero against such powerful villains because I am not a film character. I am a ‘normal’ human being who doesn’t fake being fearless of being hunted down and probably killed.

Anna Hazare movement

During the long march from Bandra station to Juhu circle.

In other words, my contribution towards the fight against corruption, if it can be called one, ended with the fizzling out of the Jan Lokpal Movement.

However, the movement did help me personally as I started taking a keen interest in the political atmosphere of the country. It increased my knowledge on politics, although I don’t have much right now. Before 2011, I didn’t even know the meaning of an MP and MLA.

It was also because this movement that I started writing on the current socio-political issues on my blog, which was earlier almost limited to just film related stuff.

In between I also heard from a lot of learned people that it is important to better yourself before you think of bettering the world. Samaaj ko behtar banane chale hain, pehle khud ko toh behtar banao. These words had a profound impact on me and I started making efforts in being a better version of myself, although I am not sure if I have succeeded.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero doesn’t leave you in a hopeless state. It shows that there is still hope. Even though little but hope nevertheless. This is exactly what I would like to believe too…

(I never believe in writing so much about myself. But this movie just forced me to. Still I am not sure if this was relevant to you.)

About the film:

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is a decent film that could have been better if the flaws in the second half were taken care of. It is still an important film that makes you think in addition to providing some thrills.

By: Keyur Seta

15Apr/180

Why rapes in Kathua & Unnao are gaining so much attention?

The rapes in Kathua in Jammu and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh (UP) have, understandably, shaken us to the core. We would have been deeply affected even if such incidents had happened in a fictitious movie. So, after reading the details of what happened in real, especially in the Kathua case, one is definitely expected to feel for it life-long.

But I can see a lot of people asking as to why only these two rapes have received such widespread coverage and subsequent condemnation. According to them, rapes are a regular occurrence in India. So, why only trend these two cases?

Well, they have a point. As shameful as it may sound, rapes, even of minor girls, keep happening in India. And a lot of them have been disturbingly violent too.

Kathua RapeBut, apart from the fact that the incident happened in a sacred spot like a temple, it is the shocking reactions and actions of both state governments and people involved in the governments that have ensured such massive coverage and trending of these two cases.

For those not in the know, a group called Hindu Ekta Manch openly protested in favour of the people allegedly involved in the disturbingly gruesome rape of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua and that too by waving the tricolor! Worse, they were joined by the two BJP ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Parkash Ganga from the state. (Read more HERE)

As far as the Unnao rape is concerned, no action was taken on the accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is a BJP legislator from the state, for more than a year. Worse, when the victim’s father carried out a peaceful protest, he was arrested by the police and he soon died in police custody due to torture. (Read more HERE)

The accused was arrested but only after the High Court literally slammed the UP Government for not taking any action and the victim threatened to commit suicide outside the Chief Minister’s home. (Read more HERE)

When did we last hear about a rally being taken out in support of rape accused with a tricolor which is also attended by those who are supposed to govern us? When did you last year of a situation where instead of arresting the accused, the father of the victim was not only arrested but also beaten to death?

These factors make these two cases more serious and worrying.

By: Keyur Seta

8Apr/180

Salman Khan’s welcome reminds us of the horrors of hero worship

After getting released on bail yesterday, Salman Khan got a heroic welcome in his hometown Mumbai. Such was the delight in the hearts of his fans that a large amount of crackers were busted in celebration. A person alien to the entire Black Buck case would feel that the actor must have done some noble deed to have received such a reception.

Little would he or she know that Salman is actually found guilty of killing endangered species and has only received bail; he is not acquitted of the crime. On top of that, the judge who convicted him is transferred (co-incidence?).

Welcoming a convict by busting crackers is surely shocking. But after a while, it didn’t come as a surprise for me. The reason for this is simple. The same person has been let off of a much serious crime of killing one and injuring four in the 2002 hit-and-run case.

Anybody who has followed this case would know how he was let off. The silliest giveaway was Salman’s driver taking the blame on him all of a sudden 13 years after the crime.

Salman KhanBut the manner in which the prime witness, constable Ravindra Patil, was physically and mentally tortured to death not only points to foul play but also gets you disturbed. (Read Patil’s full story HERE and HERE.)

This point alone is enough to question the mindsets of those who can turn a blind eye to the above incidents and welcome the actor as if he carried out a noble deed for the nation. Unfortunately, a good section of the media is behaving the same way. It is shuddering to think that they are the custodians of the fourth pillar of democracy.

This is the extent to which the disease of hero worship has spread in India.

The usual excuse we get from these blind fans is that Salman has been doing a lot of charity. Now, which law states that a person should be excused from charges of such magnanimous nature if he or she indulges in charity work? For the uninitiated, his charitable trust Being Human was started in 2007, much after he got involved in such crimes.

Watch the fireworks and how Salman asks his robotic fans to sleep:

It is obvious that such bhakts won’t question as to how Salman received bail in just 48 hours when Dr Kafeel Khan is in prison since six months and that too for saving the lives of children during the horrific episode of lack of oxygen in Gorakhpur’s hospital.

I don’t think many of them might even be aware of the incident (read about it HERE, if you are one of them). In fact, there are lakhs of undertrial prisoners who are not even convicted but are still loitering in jails since months and years simply because their name is not Salman Khan.

And yet, the blind fans keep giving the laughable argument that Salman is targeted for being a celebrity when it’s the other way round. If he wasn’t a celebrity, he would have been one of the lakhs of undertrials.

The hero worship disease is not just limited to the fans of actors. It goes for politicians as well. So much so that their ghastly crimes are forgotten just because they possess the quality of uttering scripted lines with style and punches. If they say something you love listening to in their usual heroic way, you are clean bowled!

To think of it, this shows how the job of actors and politicians is the same. Both act in front of the audience and mouth scripted lines. The only difference is that actors admit to acting, although not while being off screen.

But the masses won’t realize this since this disease makes you disconnected with logic. One gets so madly attracted to some quality or style of a celebrity that thinking and reasoning is out of question. It makes you fight or even end relations with your near and dear ones just because they don’t agree with your blind worship.

All this for a person who is not even aware about your existence in the first place.

By: Keyur Seta

25Mar/180

How to identify Fake News?

Fake News

The internet and social media have revolutionized our lives. But every innovation is bound to have some disadvantages. While there are quite a few disadvantages of the internet, the one that is creating an absolute menace these days is Fake News.

To put it simply, Fake News is not news. It is a false story presented to us as a piece of news, which is nothing but a figment of someone’s imagination.

Fake NewsI know this is a spoon-feeding way of defining it. But unfortunately, this is what is required in today’s times when even the highly educated easily fall for Fake News. For some strange reason, people feel that if something is written on the internet or social media, it has to be true.

The results of believing Fake News can be very serious. It can make an innocent person appear guilty and vice versa. It can also damage the reputation of a person, especially of a celebrity for no fault of his/ her. Just recently, cricketer Hardik Pandya was slammed left, right and center for allegedly insulting Babasaheb Ambedkar when it was his parody account on Twitter that had done that.

So, continuing the same spoon-feeding, let’s have a look at how to identify or detect Fake News. For this, we need to know the various sources from where Fake News can emerge.

‘News’ Websites:

When you come across any news item online, do look at the name of the website. Make sure that the website is a proper news website. As far as India is concerned, examples of proper news websites include TheHindu.com, IndianExpress.com, TimesOfIndia.com, HindustanTimes.com, NDTV.com, DNAIndia.com, News18.com, FirstPost.com, DeccanChronicle.com, etc. In other words, it should be a reputed publication.

In today’s era, it is terribly easy to start your own website. It is very cheap too as you can get a domain name for as less as Rs 500. Plus, you can design your website for free too and give it an authentic look. Hence, we see the emergence of fake news websites like Postcard.News, Swarajya.com, etc. Most of these websites tamper actual news or create fake news to promote government as well as religious propaganda and slam those who share opposing ideologies.

What’s App:

What’s App has been the biggest contributor to Fake News. I wonder how people don’t realize that any Tom, Dick and Harry can write absolutely any rubbish on What’s App and forward. Just because it’s written on What’s App doesn’t mean it is true.

Hilarious ‘news’ like ISIS members spreading AIDS by going door-to-door and ‘Jana Gana Mana’ being declared the Best National Anthem by UNESCO (this is being spread even before social media came into existence) are believed at face value just because they are written in a What’s App message.

So, as soon as you read any news related item on What’s App, just do a simple Google search by adding keywords related to that piece of news. For example, if you get a message saying, ‘Shah Rukh Khan’s new movie is titled Zero,’ just search the words ‘Shah Rukh Khan movie Zero’ on Google and if you find the same news on aforementioned proper news websites, only then consider it to be true.

Jana Gana ManaMemes:

A meme is an image with messages shared on social media and What’s App. It normally has an image of a person with a quote. Sometimes, it has only written matter (like the one in the image on the right). Again, this also can be created by just about anyone.

Fake meme makers always use the kind of a picture that goes well with the comment. Hence, people tend to believe it to be true and keep forwarding, not knowing that they are actually spreading Fake News and damaging someone's reputation. The same Google search method is to be followed here to know if it’s true.

What if genuine news websites carry fake news?

There are times when even reputed publications commit a faux pass and carry Fake News. So, it is advisable not to believe something published on only one website. Check if it has appeared in few other publications too. Unfortunately, there have been instances where almost all reputed online publications have carried wrong news by adding quotes of a person who has actually not said anything on that topic.

So, if you find an unusual or shocking comment from someone, try to find its video on YouTube or wait for few days to get a clear picture. It will almost always be AltNews.in that will burst the most recent Fake News bubble. It’s the biggest Fake News buster of India, which is run by man called Pratik Sinha.

By: Keyur Seta

Abraham Lincoln meme

22Jan/180

We have forgotten how this group did worse than Karni Sena just 5 months ago

As we are all aware how the Rajput Karni Sena is violently dictating terms while putting forth their demand to ban Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padamaavat. The protests began in Rajasthan last year but have now spread to various parts of the countries. In fact, there have been continuous reports of violence over the last few days.

Needless to say, they are being allowed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led governments in some states and center to dictate terms. There has been no strict action taken despite the goons creating havoc uncontrollably.

If violence wasn’t enough, threats are being given by Karni Sena women to commit jauhar (self-immolation). The group is led by men and the violence is also created by them but they wish to be safe. How heroic!

However, although the spineless attitude of the governments is sickening, it is certainly not surprising. This is simply because they had made their intentions clear as far as appeasing fringe groups is concerned just five months ago. Strangely, I have not heard anyone recalling this disturbing incident despite its massive similarity with the ongoing Karni Sena crisis.

Karni Sena Padmavati

Picture: Hindustan Times

Self-styled Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, known for his roles in and as MSG, was convicted of raping two girls in August last year by the Punjab and Haryana Court. Following this, his huge number of followers went on a violent rampage by randomly destroying public and state properties by either vandalizing or setting them ablaze.

What made it even worse was that 30 people were reported dead in the entire chaos by the supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief. See the entire timeline of events HERE.

Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana (the same person who has given some shockingly chauvinistic statements and has taken the recent rapes lightly and labeled some as ‘fake’) came under severe fire for allowing thousands of Dera supporters to gather outside the court premises despite knowing their gruesomely violent nature.

You don’t even need to be half intelligent to predict how his mad supporters would react once their hero is pronounced guilty of such heinous crimes. Not just that, Ram Rahim was allowed an entourage of 200 cars while going to the court! The state acted only after severe damage to lives and property took place. The Dera chief is close to the BJP and his supporters are a big vote bank for them.

In fact, the party spokespersons were not even ready to speak against Ram Rahim on news chat shows that night despite him being convicted of rape (the charges against him are far worse, including mass castration). These are the same people who are ready to bash the opposition even for a tweet.

Similarly, right now they are not ready to condemn Karni Sena’s goons, leave alone take action. After all, Rajputs form a large vote bank in the northern and central areas of India.

So, those who are aware of the five-month old history shouldn’t be surprised to see it being repeated.

By: Keyur Seta

14Jan/180

Spielberg’s ‘The Post’ is a loud reminder of the state of media in India currently

Spoilers alert!

The basic message in Steven Spielberg’s The Post comes right at the end when a character says, “The free press is to serve the governed, not the governors.” The sentence provides an overwhelming effect for it summaries the excellent efforts of the film to showcase the true meaning of a free press.

But being an Indian citizen who has been following the media scenario in India over the last decade or so, it also reminded me about the rapid deterioration of the freedom of the press in the country.

The Post is based on a newspaper’s brave efforts in the early 1970s in obtaining and publishing classified documents that reveal how the US had been lying to its people with respect to the Vietnam War. The team of journalists is taken to the court by the government but, astonishingly, the media wins the case. In other words, they are allowed to point out their government's grave offence against the people.

Taking nothing away from the film and the fearlessness shown by the journalists of that era, I feel the challenges faced by the Indian media today are many notches higher (I am talking about true, genuine journalists).

The PostCan you even imagine news of such a humongous nature being reported by a mainstream newspaper or a news channel today? Well, leave alone that, one can’t even print a report about the possibility of corruption by a citizen who happens to be the son of the party head of the ruling party. On the contrary, the publication gets sued for defamation (by the way, the complainant hasn’t been able to prove the charges).

Just recently, an FIR was filed against the reporter of a well-known publication for carrying out an investigative report showing severe security lapse in the entire Aadhaar scheme.

But if you think this is bad, wait for the next. Few years back, a film journalist lost his job for reporting true box office collections of a well-known movie. He spoiled the party of the makers who were circulating fake collections through various mediums.

So, at a time when even film related news gets you sacked, what are the possibilities of our media being allowed to carry out something as earth-shattering as shown in The Post?

Unofficially government-run media:

Government crackdown on the media isn’t the only major hurdle that today. Over the last few years, the concept of unofficially owned news channels has cropped up. Those having watched such channels even for a few days would realize that their main motto is to show the government in good light even when they have been messing things up up left, right and center.

Their loud-mouthed anchors disguising as saviors of the nation would scream out lies till they start appearing like the truth. If a report of such magnitude gets published, these anchors would label the team of reporters as criminals. Anurag Kashyap’s recently released Mukkabaaz has a line which translates to, “Truth isn’t something you know. It’s something people believe to be true.” In fact, anyone having a contrary view is shouted down and labeled anti-national, naxalite, leftist; depending on their mood.

Being an era of internet and social media, the role of government run trolls also cannot be ignored. Its paid troll army would be up in arms and instantly manufacture fictitious links of their reporters with some criminal, terrorist or the opposition parties (opposition = criminals, by the way.) And if a reporter would have been a female, it gets worse.

The Post is a loud reminder of the sorry state of affairs with respect to the freedom of the press currently in India.

By: Keyur Seta

24Dec/171

2017 Mein Meri Yeh Dasha Hui

Ek zamana tha jab mera kad (height) ooncha tha. Lambe kadam chalne mein ek adbhut anand milta tha. Lekin safar ke darmyan dheere dheere mujhe sandeh hua ki kahin mera kad chhota toh nahin ho raha. Agle kuchh varshon mein mera shaq yakeen mein badalta gaya. Aur dekhte hi dekhte is saal mera kad aur bhi chhota ho gaya.

2017 yearKabhi mere kad ko kisi Facebook post ke liye chhota kiya gaya toh kabhi kisi haanirahit (harmless) film ke liye.

Pehle toh jab koi naami vyakti mera istamaal karte the tab mera kad chhota hota tha. Aaj toh aam aadmi bhi agar mera istamaal karen toh agle din mera kad aur chhota ho jata hai. Phir dheere dheere main samaj gaya ki sahi baat kehne par mera kad chhota hote rahega.

Ashcharya ki baat yeh hai ki naak aur gala kaatne waale log bhi mera istamaal karne lage hain, jab ki mera unse koi nata nahin.

Mera kad chhota ho jane ke baavjood main naye varsh ki taraf badh raha hoon. Aaj ki sthiti dekhte hue lagta hai ki 2018 mein mera kad aur bhi chhota ho jayega. Meri lambaai kaatne ke liye naye saal mein bhi log tatpar honge.

Ab main zameen ke star par gir jaaun uske pehle mujhe bacha lijiye. Warna meri anupasthiti mein aapka moolya kisi vastu se zyada na hoga.

Aapki,

Abhivyakti Swatantrata

19Nov/170

Disclaimer: This short story has nothing to do with Padmavati controversy

The bright and sunny day at the little but picturesque village of Shantigram became all the more delightful for Ramcharan and his team. At the end of the final rehearsals, they all heaved a sigh of relief. Now they were convinced that their puppet show would indeed turn out to be a success.

Ramcharan’s troupe has been working day in and day out to tell an important story from their old folklore. It was the saga of valour of their ancestors that they were eager to show to the people of today’s generation. Abundant wealth and hard work had been put in. But they were sure it will all be worth.

But a rude twist awaited them just a week before their first performance. It came in the form of a team of blood-hungry goons who vowed to make sure the act will never take place. Led by Rankesh, they were infamous for their hooligan methods against those who they felt insulted their culture, tradition, pride and what not. In fact, they don’t even show qualms in killing their ‘enemies.’

Puppet show

Photo courtesy: Griefhealed.com

Rankesh and his pals just assumed that Ramcharan’s team has distorted history in their performance and portrayed their ancestors in ‘bad light.’ The artists tried explaining that they haven’t shown anything of that sort. But Rankesh was adamant. He just won’t let the performance happen.

At night, Ramcharan and his group members went to the village Sarpanch. He and his team were chosen unanimously by the villagers few years back as they expected terrific governance from them. This is what they had promised when they were selected and had even proven it through some of their welfare works.

The Sarpanch couldn’t meet them as he was occupied with something. But he sent a message through his second in command that everything will be taken care of. Ramcharan and others heaved a sigh of relief. That night they slept peacefully after days. Two days to go for the performance now.

Next morning, while they were just about to reach the area of rehearsals, where the stage was already built, they could see Rankesh and his men were already present. They were standing few steps besides the stage brandishing an array of weapons and a smirk on their faces. Ramcharan and the rest could feel their mouths drying up. Will they be the next victims?

Just like clouds suddenly dispersing making way for the sun, the artists saw Sarpanch’s best men charging to the area where the goons stood. What brought Ramcharan and others more confidence was the fact that they too were carrying a wide range of weapons.

The axes, bamboos and spears did a lot of work as the Sarpanch’s men attacked in full force and enthusiasm. However, despite such brutal use of force by Sarpanch’s comrades, Rankesh and his men didn’t even get a scratch.

Seconds later, standing opposite each other, both the parties had a hearty laugh as the stage remained demolished besides them.

Disclaimer: As said in the headline, this story has nothing to do with the Padmavati controversy.

By: Keyur Seta

25Feb/172

Why we shouldn’t blame Nihalani alone for Lipstick Under My Burkha sexist attack

While we were busy analyzing the results of various municipal elections in Maharashtra, the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) imposed their downright sexist thoughts on the audience.

The board refused certificate to Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha. In other words, they feel the audience should NOT watch this film. The reasons stated by them have sexism written all over them.

In a letter given to the producers, the board justifies their act saying, “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).”

Now, let’s break down their so-called justification. They have given away their sick thoughts in the first five words itself by stating that it’s a ‘lady oriented’ film. When you feel offended by female-oriented films, it speaks volumes about your sexist and pro-MCP mindset. You look at it as a threat to your deep-rooted patriarchal thoughts.

Lipstick Under My Burkha and NihalaniThe second justification ‘their fantasy above life,’ means a female can’t be shown having fantasy. These people have had no problems all these years when a male, or ‘hero’ as they call it, fantasizes about a girl in various ways.

The other reasons – There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society – don’t hold ground because the job of the CBFC is not that of a Moral Science teacher.

To make matters worse, Nihalani has justified their actions by sugarcoating it with ‘Indian culture’. He said to the media, “The aim is also to protect our culture and tradition. Our motto is right film should go to the public.”

He should remember that it’s a film CERTIFICATION board. So, their job is only to certify films according to age groups and not pass judgments on which films are ‘right films.’ This was also said by the Bombay High Court during the Udta Punjab fiasco last year. Nihalani and CBFC surely couldn’t have forgotten it so soon. After all, who can forget such huge national embarrassments?

And for your information, the issue is not just limited to a film. It is about how a group of individuals are forcing the people to walk onto their patriarchal path. It is also an attack on freedom of expression in one of world's largest democracies.

However, during every such fiascos by the CBFC, we just don’t tend to look beyond. We criticize Nihalani and other CBFC members but that’s about it. We clearly forget who appointed them and why they are still not removed.

It is the Central Government that had revamped the CBFC committee in 2015. It happened after Leela Samson, the previous chief, and her team resigned due to issues while certifying MSG: The Messenger. The members are handpicked supporters of government ideologies.

Therefore, it is the Central Government that is to be blamed for every attack on freedom of expression by the CBFC. The list of dictatorial blunders by the CBFC is long. So, despite this if they are still not removed, it only means that the government supports them and is propagating its dangerously regressive mindset through the CBFC.

If the government doesn’t support such ideologies, what is stopping them from removing Nihalani and others from the CBFC?

Are they so helpless and powerless?

Conclusion: The film industry needs to unite in huge numbers and protest for the removal of the current CBFC committee team. It has to happen or else we would be discussing the rubbish decisions by these dictators after every few weeks.

By: Keyur Seta