Unraveling the Controversy Surrounding the Bhojpuri Film ‘Rang De Basanti’ and Censor Board’s Directive

Unraveling the Controversy Surrounding the Bhojpuri Film ‘Rang De Basanti’ and Censor Board’s Directive

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In recent developments, the Bhojpuri film ‘Rang De Basanti’ has become embroiled in a heated controversy, involving the acclaimed lyricist and Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (Censor Board), Prasoon Joshi. Accusations have surfaced, suggesting that the decision to alter the film’s title was influenced by Joshi, who shares his name with the popular Bollywood film ‘Rang De Basanti.’

Expressing their concerns, the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) has penned a letter to Joshi, shedding light on the apparent directive to change the film’s title. Over the past two weeks, the film’s producers have been entangled in discussions at the Censor Board’s Mumbai office, with indications pointing towards Joshi holding the final decision.

Scheduled for a Holi release on March 22, the Bhojpuri film submitted its application for censor certification on February 5. Despite the examining committee’s review on February 19, the film is yet to receive the censor certificate. Producer Roshan Singh alleges that the Censor Board is applying pressure on them to alter the film’s title.

Providing insight, Roshan Singh discloses, “We received a call from the Censor office, instructing us to change the film’s title. The suggestion was made that since a Hindi film with the same title already exists, we should consider modifying ours.” Interestingly, the use of titles from Hindi films in over 100 Bhojpuri productions hasn’t triggered objections from the Censor Board until now.

Notably, Bhojpuri actor Khesari Lal Yadav, associated with ‘Rang De Basanti,’ questions the timing of objections, emphasizing that previous Bhojpuri films with Hindi titles didn’t encounter any issues. He also mentions being informed about specific edits required for obtaining a U/A certificate. However, upon completing the recommended edits and approaching the Censor Board in Mumbai, they were told, ‘The file is with the chairman.’

Mumbai hosts various film producer associations representing Hindi, Marathi, Bhojpuri, and Gujarati films. These associations coordinate to regulate film titles, ensuring there are no duplications within a particular language. The IMPPA has also communicated with Prasoon Joshi, highlighting potential financial losses for the film’s producers if it misses its scheduled release date.

The unfolding controversy around ‘Rang De Basanti’ prompts reflection on the autonomy of regional cinema and the influence exerted by the Censor Board on creative decisions. As the industry awaits resolution, the incident underscores the need for transparent and equitable practices in the film certification process.

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