The Censor Board Finds Vulgarity In The Word ‘Virgin’: Which Audience Is It Catering To?

Posted on September 4, 2014 in Media

By Swasti Sudan:

In the past few months, the Censor Board of India has been under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons; first when the CEO, Rakesh Kumar got arrested on the basis of  alleged bribery charges, and more recently, it has come under scrutiny due to the cuts made in Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny.

finding fanny

The board has asked Adajania to make three cuts, but it seems as though these edits have been made in order to show the film industry who is in charge. The first thing to be scrapped was Deepika Padukone’s dialogue; “I’m a virgin”, on the grounds that the line is vulgar. Apparently, dialogues such as; “is this your first time?”, and “Maine abhi tak kiya nahi (I have not done it yet)” remain unscathed, while they are blatantly referencing the same topic. Since when has openly stating “I’m a virgin”, become vulgar? Considering that Padukone’s character is a woman of marriageable age, shouldn’t the censor board be happy that the dialogue is in line with their idea of ‘Indian culture’?

The next scene to be cut was one where Deepika Padukone is seen pulling off her bra strap. Though no reason has been openly stated for this cut, one can only imagine that this again, is somehow against ‘Indian culture’. So dear ladies, please wear a bra, and make sure no straps are visible or you will be stared at. Because I’m sure you don’t want to be ogled at like John Abraham was in the beach scene from Dostana. He wasn’t showing off the waistband of his swimsuit either!

Another troublesome scene according to the Censor Board is the one where a voluptuous character played by Dimple Kapadia bends over and the back of her skirt rips. Certainly this scene was too vulgar and unrealistic, because these things don’t happen to people walking the streets in real life. Why is it that in an industry where a shirtless Ranveer Singh can have his bum pinched in the middle of a song by a number of giggling women- a skirt, the length of which is well below the knee, causes a ruckus with the Censor Board? Not only has Dimple Kapadia spoken out about this scene, Adajania has also managed to retain a flash of the same which was initially 2 minutes long.

It appears as though the board feels the need to reaffirm its existence and show off its proverbial muscles. Clearly, the cuts made are more a display of strength than anything substantial; once again leaving us with many questions. Who is actually in charge of our censor board? Is their state of mind so weak that instead of looking out for film audiences, they are now engaging in petty actions such as these? Why is it that the matter of ‘Indian culture’ and opinions on ‘vulgarity’ are not the same across the board? And more importantly, one must ask, which audience is the censor board catering to? Because it no longer seems to be the more modern and open minded audiences of developing India.