Censored films best enjoyed ‘Uncensored’
It is ironic for a country that takes pride in being the biggest producer of films in the world, to subscribe to a regressive policy of creative expression. The cultural lens through which films project our society has blurred. Censorship in films has become an instrument of propaganda politics, where bigoted and narrow-minded views of a few select-individuals are proposed and imposed. Films from Hollywood and Bollywood, that are celebrated and embraced around the world, are reduced to mere carcasses, struggling for survival in our country. Our sensitivity to taboos of sex, lust and religion have dampened our spirit of cinema. Over the past two decades, we have seen some groundbreaking films, which never saw a Friday in their purest form.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of films, which were slewed by the Almighty scissors of the Censor board, but make for a definite watch in their truest spirit. Make sure you catch them in their uncensored versions!
Angry Indian Goddesses
Angry Indian Goddesses is the perfect example of an Indian film which boasts of massive critical reception abroad, and a struggle for survival in India. Equipped with audience awards from Toronto and Rome, it showcases the gender issues that are prevalent in the country. It is easy to see how international audiences have connected to the film. What they see in the film is in perfect harmony with what they read about India. But the Censor board begged to differ and edited vital words and expressions from the movie.
The Wolf of Wall Street
This multiple Oscar nominated film, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the performance of a lifetime, follows the life of Jordan Belfort. Belfort is a mega-rich stockbroker who lives fast and parties hard. This film has some hi-octane crazy scenes that involve drugs, sex and everything else that is apparently frowned upon in India. This is a must watch in its uncensored version.
Margarita with a Straw
There are two reasons to cheer for Margarita With A Straw, director Shonali Bose’s intent and actor Kalki Koechlin’s talent. Bose has packed layers of reality into her script from a differently-abled girl understanding her sexuality, queer relationships, sexual frustration and death. Margarita With a Straw is a winner and should be watched unadulterated.
Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is about a New York socialite, Jasmine who flees to San Francisco to live with her sister, after the former’s marriage to a wealthy businessman collapses. Although she’s in a fragile emotional state and lacks job skills, Jasmine still manages to impose herself on and be critical of her sister Ginger’ s life choices. Starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins and Alec Baldwin, Blue Jasmine is a movie that loses its essence with unnecessary cuts. Enjoy it without the interference of the Censor.
Water by Deepa Mehta, much like her other films, courted a lot of controversy because of its dark and true insights on the life of the Indian widow. Set in an ashram of Varanasi, the script of the movie was written by none other than Anurag Kashyap and took up controversial issues like ostracism and misogyny which were alien to the Indian Censor board back then. No wonder, the movie was widely attacked by protesters and around 2000 fanatics even destroyed the sets of the film.
Basking in the recently concluded award season’s nomination glory, Carol is about an intimate relationship between an aspiring photographer and an older woman. Set in 1950s New York, it depicts an electrifying romance between Therese (Rooney Mara) and Carol (Cate Blanchett), at a time when same-sex love still dared not speak its name. While the world is opening up to the LGBT community, our country and the Censor board still has a long way to go. This film is best watched without any cuts.
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love
Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love is a tight slap on every individual in authority whose sole justification to ban or cut a movie is because “it is against India’s culture and traditions.” The bare truth is that nothing comes close to depicting India’s heritage than Kama Sutra. The movie is a passionate story about sexual politics, where two girls from different castes, try to outdo each other. If you have not watched it yet, you are missing out on a work of art.
Paanch was Anurag Kashyap’s debut film as a director. With its strong themes of drugs, sex and violence, it was way ahead of its time in the India of 2003. It was banned and never saw a theatrical release, which talks about the sorry state of cinematic affairs in our country. Shaitan (2011), produced by Anurag Kashyap, borrows heavily from Paanch. Had it released back then, it would have changed the course of Indian cinema.
One of the recent Hollywood films that fell prey to Censorship in India was Marvel’s Deadpool. People who watched Deadpool in Indians theatre would remember this movie to be an elaborate mute fest, because ‘inappropriate’ language apparently ‘promotes’ negativity in the country. The impact of Deadpool’s highbrow humour was lost among cine-goers, even though the humour is what essentially makes the movie stand out from the other Superhero films.
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