A letter from a Bollywood Fan to The Censor Board, this Independence Day

Dear Censor Board,

Freedom, independence, it is the ultimate joy of breathing in the air which is devoid of shackles, and creativity is a soul that thrives best when set free. If controlled, it loses its essence, and its true meaning. Art is pure when unadulterated, and there are many Bollywood movies which are a fine example of this. However, in the recent times of excessive censoring, the art of expression and storytelling is becoming extremely repressed, which is not a good thing.

You might not remember the very first movie of Indian cinema, nor do we. But what we do know is the fact that Devika Rani kissed her husband, and the hero Himanshu Rai, in the movie ‘Karma’, in that day and age. Quite progressive we must say. There were aggressive whispers behind the backs, but nevertheless, it happened. Then, post-independence, came an act which banned, yes, literally banned locking lips, for it was against Indian culture.

The movies that actually had the guts to explore the real and crude side of violence, romance, and diction, were shelved in the category of art films, thus making it open to just a section of class audience. The mass never was interested in this side of cinema, nor were they encouraged as the popular stars chose commercialised movies that drew both people and money on box office.

Romance till the 80s, was limited to rustling flowers and leaves, and it was not until the 2000s, that the audience opened up to the physical intimacy of love on screen. It was one step towards a progressive cinema, but we were yet to count ourselves equivalent to our foreign counterparts, where story is everything, no matter what it requires.

Our Censor Board nowadays feels abuses in the movies are not good for the Indian culture. Then what about the ones that are thrown casually in our daily conversations, or even shouted out loud on the streets? Surely a two and a half hour movie will be less impactful that the real world outside. S*x scenes in the movie will certainly be more diluted than the whole wide world of free p*rn that is available online, so why cut the side view or front view and consider a simple act of love making explicit? Religious violence is gripping the nation so hard, that every second social media post spews hatred, and every page on a newspaper brings despair in the form of communal violence, then what difference does it make if movies depict religion in their own artistic form?

This 70th Independence Day, we urge our Censor Board to let our movies run free, irrespective of the content. Let the audience decide what they want to watch, and what not. Do not ban stuff on the pretext of it being against Indian culture, or being too violent, or just for the sake of it.

With due regards,
A Bollywood lover.