A curious new poster for the much talked-about Lipstick Under My Burqa has a woman raising her middle finger to the sky. The somewhat unexpected gesture of defiance seems to be targeted at the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) which refused to certify the film for release until it was “asked” to do so by the Tribunal.
CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani is unfazed by the poster’s insinuated insult. “We’ve taken note of the poster. Showing the middle finger is impolite in any society. And it should be discouraged. I don’t think disapproving of this obscene gesture would be considered primitive or regressive in any society, except maybe in ours. We love to show our middle finger at anyone who champions sobriety and grace in our conduct.”
So how does the CBFC intend to tackle this menace? “Firstly I don’t think the finger is meant for us. It is meant for the public, for the aam junta who are bound to reject films that parade a fake social relevance in the name of women’s empowerment. You can’t empower women by making them wear lipstick. First give them basic rights, build toilets in every Indian home so that women don’t have to be publicly humiliated every day, and then talk about showing the middle finger to the conservative elements whether it is the censor board or anyone else. Secondly, film posters do not fall under the CBFC’s jurisdiction. They are supposed to be monitored and restrained by Film Associations. The CBFC doesn’t allow the middle finger gesture in any medium. Maybe our film associations who have allowed this poster are playing the pseudo-liberal card to appear fashionable. We at the CBFC would rather do our jobs honestly than compete for the honour of being cool and trendy.’
Nihalani says he is fine with being shown the finger. “If it pleases the liberals and the feminists to abuse the CBFC, please go ahead. Have your fun. As long as I am here I’ll do my job.”