Pahlaj Nihalani on why Beauty And The Beast was passed in India without cuts, despite the controversy
Posted by Fenil Seta
Subhash K Jha (DNA; March 21, 2017)
Much is being made of the ‘exclusively gay moment’ Beauty And The Beast director Bill Condon spoke of, before the film’s release. The harmless scene lasts but a few seconds during a dance at the end of the film.
Nevertheless, the Censor Board in Malaysia asked for that ‘moment’ to be snipped from the film, provoking the studio behind the film, Disney, to delay the film to offer them a chance to change their minds. The studio officially made a statement saying that the film “has not been and will not be cut”. Russia released the film with a 16+ rating that prevents children under the age of 16 from watching tiy.
However, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC aka Censor Board) in India has cleared the film with a U/A rating and no cuts, which means a child accompanied by an adult can watch the film. “In that case, we’re more liberal than the Russians,” quips censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani, adding, “We’ve never been against homosexuality. Why should we be judgmental about sexual preferences? We’ve viewed passed many sensitive films on homosexuality like Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh and the recent Oscar winner Moonlight, too.”
Nihalani adds, “We had no problem with the homosexual reference in Beauty And The Beast. At the CBFC, we believe there is more dignity in the implied than the applied.”