Indian censor board bans Ashvin Kumar’s film Inshallah, Football

Dear Anand,

I reget to inform you that this morning I received a call from the Indian censor board stating that after having referred the film to a revision panel that censor certification will not be given. We have not been asked to make any cuts. The reason given was that it spoke against the Indian government and it was one sided. I am still waiting on written confirmation.

Earlier, we ran into simmilar trouble with the censor board who, having heard that a private screening of film was scheduled on the 02 of November 2010 at the India Habitat Center, Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi, got in touch with me (I am not sure if the job of the cc is to be a proactive body) and insist on screening the film first without any application being made to them for censorship. This, despite the fact that we had obtained a no-objection certificate for private screenings from the I&B ministry earlier that week; the censor board overturned that exemption.

The CEO of censor board flew to Delhi from Mumbai on the 1st of November with the sole purpose of watching our film a day before the screening. We were given permission to screen the film provided we added a disclaimer in the beginning of the film that stated that the views expressed therein were that of the film maker and we complied with this direction. We were also given a verbal reassurance that certification will now only be a formality as the CEO has reviewed and passed the film. Attached the said permission.

Similarly, my other film Dazed in Doon has also run into trouble with the censors. They have given it a U/A certificate, but requested a no-objection certificate from The Doon School ostensibly because the film contains the name “doon” in its title. I am also awaiting official confirmation regarding this. Why the Indian censor board is concerned with the sentiments of The Doon School is a mystery. If the Doon School is opposed to the screening of the film, we have a contract in place that clearly outlines means of redressal. How does the Indian censor board play any part in what should be a matter between producer (myself) and co-producer (Doon School) to resolve privately?

The Indian censor board is a board of film certification. It should restrain itself to that role. It has extended its definition to being a moral guardian, arbitrator or conscience of the nation. It is every citizen’s right to express, particularly highlight aspects of our democracy, governance and society in a free and open manner. Going by the role that the Indian censor board has appropriated unto itself, no film maker would be able to express themselves freely which contradicts the basic fundamental right to speech and expression.

Please go ahead and circulate this as you see fit among your media contacts. My number incase anyone wants to speak to me is +919819714754 / ashvinkumar@mac.com

Kind regards,
Ashvin Kumar.

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