Posted by Fenil Seta
That was the question posed to the Censor Board; they let the scene in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees be, but with a disclaimer
Subhash K Jha (DNA; January 23, 2017)
Last week, Mumbai woke up to distressing pictures of a seven-year-old school girl with a bald patch on her head, in the city newspapers. Her father alleged that her teacher had thrashed the child mercilessly while pulling her hair, due to which the child has developed a gaping bald spot. This reopened the debate of corporal punishment in Indian schools. Corporal punishment won’t be allowed in any form, not even for Shah Rukh Khan and Raees.
The film has a scene of a child being physically punished and that proved problematic. According to well-informed sources, the Censor Board members had a serious discussion with the Raees producers over the scene.
“There were two options. Either that sequence had to be removed or we had to find a way of justifying its presence. The Censors were sensible enough to see that the sequence of corporal punishment was crucial to the plot, so they found a way out. They asked producer Ritesh Sidhwani to add a disclaimer stating that film and its makers do not support corporal punishment.”
This is yet another sign of the Board’s growing maturity. Earlier every violent or sexual shot was evaluated according to uniform guidelines. But now individual scenes featuring controversial content are likely to be judged on their own merit.
The Board also had problems with scenes of liquor manufacture and consumption, as SRK plays a bootlegger. An added disclaimer stating, “The film does not in any way endorse its protagonist’s professional allegiance to alcohol” has been added.
Also, putting an end to all debate discussion and assumption on whether Raees is based on the real-life Gujarati bootlegger-turned-politician Abdul Lateef, the Board has asked for prominent opening-credits disclaimer stating, “This film is a work of fiction. It does not disparage any person dead or alive.”