Censor board has given an 'A' certificate to the 3 minute promo of Aligarh. This translates into the fact that the promo can be screened in only those theater screens where another 'A' certificate film is being played. This isn't all as number of music and entertainment channels can't play the promo either on prime time. This leaves the film only a digital platform to make its presence felt.
"And that, when there is not even a single shot of nudity or any cuss word in the promo," says a source attached to the film, "How absurd can it get? Though there hasn't been a reason stated for an 'A' certificate been given to the promo, it is but obvious that the bold theme of film, which centers on homosexuality, has caught Censor Board's attention."
The film tells the real life story of a professor from Aligarh who was ostracized when found in a compromising position with another man at his house. It is suspected that just a couple of words like 'gay' and 'sex' with undertones of the leading man's sexual orientation have bothered the Censor Board.
Since the makers of Aligarh wanted to get going with the promotion and didn't really have bandwidth to fight it out prior to the launch, they took the decision with a pinch of salt. However, the man of the moment, director Hansal Mehta, is understandably upset.
"I am disgusted and angry. The trailer has nothing to warrant an 'A' certificate. I am constrained to smell a conspiracy in this absurd action by CBFC. This is Homophobia for you. Sex is fine, sexuality isn't! I believe that our mindsets towards sexuality won't change irrespective of Sec. 377," Mehta fires away.
Starring Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao in pivotal roles, the film is already gaining rave reviews in international film festivals. However closer home in India, the film would have to fight it out for gaining mainstream visibility en route release.
"I will protest and raise a stink," Mehta is unwilling to let go, "They are sabotaging our attempts to promote this film and are severely paralyzing us and our freedom of expression. But I will battle them and not give up the fight."
That should be interesting, and much looked forward to as well.