The online Indian community has been commenting and joking over social media about the Mumbai-based Central Board of Film Certification’s decision to cut the newest 007 flick, SPECTRE, of its swearing and extended kissing scenes.
“We have reduced them,” said Pahlaj Nihalani, speaking of the scenes wherein the fictional British spy, played by actor Daniel Craig, passionately smooches his leading ladies, played by actresses Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux. “Our work is for censoring the movie according to the rating of the film so we have done that,” Nihalani explained.
Twitter Reacts, Spawns Meme
In response, the online Indian community had itself a good long laugh. “The name’s Bond,” says on Twitter user. “James Sitaram Krishnakumar Bond.” Like many, @BolshoyBooze has been riding the #SanskariJamesBond hashtag on the microblogging site, which has created a long list of images and jokes in regard to the newly-spawned Internet meme. “#SanskariJamesBond seduces women by lighting aggarbattis in his bedroom and then introduces them to his Mom,” jokes @Purba_Ray.
It’s common for social media to spawn memes in response to a controversial or easily exploited topic – and the strange exclusivity with which SPECTRE was treated by the CBFC seemed to be the perfect bait for it. As Huffington Post notes, India has over 22 million Twitter users. As WeAreSocial.net shows, social media is growing rapidly in India, and that’s a good thing for communication. Usage is up 26 percent from last year – a huge leap.
Kissing Wasn’t the Problem – Too Much Kissing Was
A news source states that cut from the movie were an instance of “f***” and “a**hole”, alongside a roughly 50 percent reduction of duration in the kissing scenes. It seems the problem wasn’t the actual kissing –just that it was too much kissing. “Both of Daniel Craig’s kisses with his co-stars have been reduced by 50 per cent,” says the source.
“The censor board had nothing against James Bond kissing. But the length of the kisses were found to be unnecessarily excessive. We heard that Ranbir Kapoor’s kissing scenes in Tamasha has also been reduced by half. We wonder how the Censor Board decides how much kissing is enough.”
What’s the Issue?
There’s a deeper hidden fact that’s coming to light more now than in the past, thanks to the media explosion over Nihalani’s decision to cut kissing scenes in the movie. It goes to show in Ashoke Pandit’s reaction, who claims that Nihalani sidelined him and others from the decision-making process, calling Nihalani a “stooge” for PM Narendra Modi, who is publicly conservative on social matters.
Pandit commented on the issue through Twitter, writing: “Spectre is an internationally applauded film, but again Pahlaj Nihalani messes it up by shading it with his own thought process. Nihalani’s action should not be a reflection of my choices. I feel it’s a mockery of the freedom of a film-maker.”
“Pahalaj Nihalani is a maker who started the trend of “vulgarity” in Indian cinema, especially songs & is now giving sermons to filmmakers,” Pandit continued in an array of tweets regarding the chairperson of the CBFC.
There have been other controversies. The board previously postponed plans to introduce bans against an extensive list of words and topics, including referring to Mumbai as “Bombay”, and violence against women.For more cinema news and other topics, stay tuned to Divya Bhaskar.