Actor Aamir Khan, a star of his stature, may not attend award shows and showbiz parties but is 100% updated with the happenings of the film industry, which also includes the orthodox Censor Board's obsession with suggesting cuts and edits, often deemed as unnecessary. Aamir Khan was recently asked to comment on how the sanskari ways of the Central Board of Film Certification may affect a filmmaker's vision, when he appeared to be doubtful about the relevance of censorship in present times. "Censorship... I don't know how relevant it is today," Aamir said. Aamir Khan was speaking at the trailer launch event of his new project Secret Superstar on Wednesday afternoon. Aamir's comments arrive at a time when the CBFC has suggested as many as 48 cuts in Nawazuddin Siddiqui's new film Babumoshai Bandookbaaz.
- "Censorship... I don't know how relevant it is today," Aamir said
- "The CBFC in any case isn't supposed to censor," he added
- "It is supposed to grade the film and certify," said Aamir
In a reminder of sorts to the CBFC (which ironically is referred to as the Censor Board), the 52-year-old superstar added that the film body should restrict itself to the certification of films and not indulge in censorship. "As far as my knowledge goes, the CBFC in any case isn't supposed to censor, it is supposed to grade the film and certify ki kiss age group ko hum ye dikha sakte hain. So, I guess that's how we should proceed. That's what also Mr Shyam Benegal's recommendations are if I am not mistaken. So hopefully things will get better soon," Aamir said.
Aamir Khan referred to the Shyam Benegal Committee which was set up in January 2016 to evaluate the progress and functioning of the Pahlaj Nihalani-led CBFC. Celebrated filmmakers like Goutam Ghosh and Rakeysh Omprakash, actor Kamal Haasan, ad guru Mehra Piyush Pandey and film journalist Bhawana Somayaa were also included on Mr Benegal's panel. In March this year, the panel recommended complete abolition of any sort of censorship. News agency PTI reported Mr Mehra as saying on behalf of the committee: "What we recommended is the immediate abolishment of censorship. There is complete clarity. There are no ifs and buts. There cannot be a scissor anymore in this great country. We need to preserve the freedom of expression."
Ahead of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, the censor board vehemently objected to Lipstick Under My Burkha for its subject being overtly "lady oriented." Madhur Bhandarkar was told to remove references to RSS, Akali and even singer Kishore Kumar from his Emergency-themed Indu Sarkar. However, both films triumphed releasing on scheduled dates but not without cuts. The Censor Board had also asked Jab Harry Met Sejal makers to remove the word 'intercourse' from its mini trails. Previously, films like drug drama Udta Punjab, crime thriller NH10 and even the last James Bond film SPECTRE suffered the blows of the censor board.
Last month, Pahlaj Nihalani appeared to disown his statement on quitting as the Censor Board chief if asked by the government. In separate tweets Mr Nihalani denied to have said this to news agency IANS: "If now I am asked to leave, I'd do so just as swiftly, wishing my successor all the best." He is also quoted in the copy as saying, "So far, I have not heard any such plans from the government. I am sure my well-wishers are holding their breath. But they can exhale for now."
Apart from promotional duties for Secret Superstar, Aamir Khan is currently working for Thugs Of Hindostan, his film with Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh. Secret Superstar features Aamir's another co-star from Dangal - Zaira Wasim - who plays the protagonist.
Directed by Advait Chandan, Secret Superstar is scheduled for Diwali.