In August 2017, Pahlaj Nihalani stepped down as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and this development made a lot of moviegoers and industry people happy. Ever since he had assumed this post in early 2015, he had targeted plenty of films and forced the makers to chop off certain not-so-risqué scenes and even not-so-objectionable words. He received a lot of criticism when he reduced 22 seconds from the kissing scene in the James Bond film, Spectre . It earned him the title of Mr Sanskaari, giving rise to a lot of memes and jokes.
So, when he stepped down, many expected the CBFC to be no longer ‘sanskaari’. Moreover, Prasoon Joshi replaced Pahlaj Nihalani, who was seen as far more liberal than his predecessor. However, things didn’t change much. A lot of bizarre decisions continued to be implemented. The CBFC became a butt of jokes when they decided to rename the controversial Padmavati as Padmaavat. It made no effect on the protestors. Last month, moviegoers and also producer Emraan Hashmi were astonished when the Board renamed Cheat India as Why Cheat India!
Meanwhile, the cuss words continued to be muted, even in adult films. And of course, the intimate scenes faced censoring. The latest casualty of the censor scissors is Gully Boy. It stars Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in the leading roles and their chemistry has been appreciated, as evident in the promos. But their fans would be disappointed to know that a passionate kissing scene between them has been diluted. As per the cut list details, their smooching shot, lasting for 13 seconds, has been reduced. And moreover, it has been replaced by a wider shot.
Some more cuts have also been implemented. Royal Stag has been mentioned in the ‘Brand Partners’ list but the name of this popular whiskey brand has been removed! We have seen in the past how names of liquor brands have been blurred from the bottles but removing the name of a brand partner, simply because it’s an alcoholic beverage, is probably a first!
Gully Boy also has some abusive words like ‘G***u’, ‘h********e’, ‘h*********i’, ‘f*****g’ and they have been replaced with milder terms. And of course, anti-smoking static warning message has been inserted in all smoking scenes.
Gully Boy is directed by Zoya Akhtar and is all set to release on Valentine’s Day, that is, Thursday February 14. The film, loosely based on the life of street rappers Divine and Naezy, got the Censor certificate on February 8. The duration of the film is 155 minutes.