So Ranveer Singh’s butt is finally on display. It had to be in a Yashraj film. When you are the biggest banner in Bollywood you can get away with bikini-clad heroines in every film (barring Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha) and now repeated bra-shots of the heroine (a lingerie peek in Baar Baar Dekho was censored) even a butt-shot of Ranveer Singh in Befikre.
Says disgusted critic Raja Sen, “It is just a matter of clout. If Mr Nihalani thinks it’s okay for people to kiss in Europe, why did he object to James Bond and Monica Bellucci kissing in Spectre? This CBFC has shown complete inconsistency and arbitrariness in their rulings. I have no problem with the inanity Mr Aditya Chopra shows in Befikre but everyone should be measured by the same yardstick.”
Censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani says it (the butt) was put in “a context” and also a mere fleeting glance, hence okay?
That logic is hard to digest. If the censor guidelines prevent display of nudity, why allow a butt shot in a frivolous jokey LOL context? Would the narrative have suffered without Ranveer’s invaluable booty?
Defending the butt shot CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani says, “We shortened Ranveer Singh’s butt shot quite a lot. Right now it’s just a glimpse, no more. What’s wrong with it? He is alone with his girlfriend in a room. They are doing what couples do when they are alone. Why is a butt shot objectionable? We’ve allowed butt shots in some recent Hollywood films. Also in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Jail.”
Even worse is the treatment meted out to the female protagonist who dances in lingerie and slurp-kisses her co-star with a relish that normal human beings reserve for their favourite flavour of ice-cream. Justifying the cornucopia of kisses Nihalani says, “We have to keep in mind that the romance is set in Paris where kissing is a normal common way of greeting one another.”
After seeing the film no one is buying that logic. Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor’s kissing is neither normal nor common. They go at each other’s mouths like kids attacking a chocolate cake at a birthday party.
Again Mr Nihalani rises to the film’s smooching spree’s defence. “See, unlike Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Spectre or Tamasha where the kisses were done in lengthy shots, in Befikre the kisses are scattered and largely fleeting and all over the place. They are done as part of the narration. I am a filmmaker myself. I know what can be cut without hampering the flow of the narrative. In Befikre there is no way we could cut the kisses without interrupting the flow of the story. Aditya Chopra has treated the kisses as part of the story. If we removed the kisses we’d be hampering the storytelling.”
However Mr Nihalani reveals that the kisses have been curtailed where they could. “We’ve cut all the close-ups of the kisses and the climactic kiss has been reduced by 50 percent. The rest we couldn’t cut for apprehension of being accused of creative interference.”
Nihalani says it’s a no-win situation for the censor board. “If we cut scenes shots and dialogues which go against censor guidelines we are accused of being over-sanskaari. If we don’t cut we are accused of being over-liberal. Please make up your kind how you want us to treat movies, sanskaari or liberal. In any case, even if we make cuts as per guidelines producers now go to the Tribunal or even the courts and get all the cuts restored.”
Stunned by the sheer cheesy mediocrity of it all Befikre raises questions about the censor board’s highly mouldable policies. While the kisses may be seen as ‘creatively unmovable’ there is no excuse at all for the heroine in Befikre being called a ‘slut’ by the hero.
Says Nihalani, “I have not watched Befikre personally during certification. If the word you mention is used then we need to re-examine the film and remove the offensive word.”