Central Board had asked for 18 cuts for Vikram Bhatt’s erotic thriller ‘Love Games’ but the makers refused to surrender and put up a fight for their rights. The makers had applied for an ‘A’ certificate for the film. The examining committee of the CBFC board had asked for certain four-letter words to be muted, cut down kissing scene to a few seconds, and shockingly, didn’t want the hero who is a drug addict rehabilitated by love, to be shown consuming drugs on screen.
Producer Mukesh Bhatt points out, “They wanted 18 cuts, it was absurd as we had not even applied for a ‘U’ or ‘U/A’ certificate. In the digital era when everything is available online, some people watching a film within the purview of four walls were questioning the intelligence and maturity of an adult to view a film in the right perspective.”
“Mukesh Bhatt along with co-producer Bhushan Kumar went directly to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), bypassing the Revising Committee of the CBFC. The move paid off. Says a proud Bhushan Kumar, “We are happy and grateful to the Tribunal for having appreciated the creative need of the script and granting the film an ‘A’ certificate without cuts.”
“Freedom is enshrined in the Constitution of our country. We don’t have to grovel for it at the feet of Pahlaj Nihalani (CBFC chairperson) or any minister. Our filmmakers have only themselves to blame if they surrender this right to a Draconian law,” says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, as he informs that a lady member only asked for one cuss word, chu***, to be muted.
He points out that when he made ‘Daddy’ for Doordarshan in 1989, the story of a daughter curing her alcoholic father which was aired in almost every home, “Anupam Kher was shown getting drunk, how else could we have shown his redemption? In ‘Love Games’ too it is important to show the leading man, a sex and drug addict, in a dark abyss, on the wrong side of the street, before he is rehabilitated,” he argues.
The filmmaker insists that the cuts suggested by the Examining Committee would have completely destroyed the core of the narrative. That wasn’t tolerable to them as he believes they had a responsibility towards the writer-director and the creative team. “Most filmmakers don’t take the FCAT route offered to them. We are cowards, when a bully says ‘Boo’ we run with our tail between our legs. I say stare the bully in the eye, fight for your right and you will come out unscathed, like we did.”