Last Sunday, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry ‘advised’ Sony TV not to telecast Vidya Balan starrer ‘The Dirty Picture’ before 11 pm. The directive was issued as the channel was due to telecast the film twice on Sunday, at 12 noon and at 8 pm.
It is needless to say what prompted the Ministry to issue the advisory. Nonetheless, to fill the time slot the popular channel telecast non-stop Amir Khan starrer superhit film ‘3 Idiots’.
After watching the film, a question started bothering me: did the I&B Ministry enact ‘3 Idiots’ in real life. I believe, yes.
The CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) was portrayed as the first Idiot. Why? Because it had cleared the film and given it a U/A certificate, which allows for the movie to be telecast during daytime.
The Bombay High Court was portrayed as the second Idiot, which had allowed the screening and telecast of film after nearly 59 cuts (including voluntary cuts by the director).
The third Idiot turned out to be the Ministry itself. By restraining the telecast of the film during daytime, it did nothing but question the judgement of the honourable High Court and the Censor Board.
The move also sent across another damaging message – that the Indian government still doesn’t consider Indians mature enough to watch a film like ‘The Dirty Picture’ when the sun is out (or even when the stars are out, at 8 pm).
The question is, why hasn’t the government acted when scenes with sexual content were shown on TV on previous occasions. Remember the recent episode of ‘Bade Achhe Lagte Hain...’ wherein full 30 minutes were devoted to foreplay and a long lip-to-lip kiss, possibly the first on Indian TV. Ironically, that programme too is aired on Sony at 10.30 pm.
And what did the I&B Ministry do about the smooch which Kareena Kapoor and Aamir Khan shared in ‘3 Idiots’ well before 11 pm.
The Indian TV audience has 24 hour access to at least two fashion channels which show bikini clad women all day long. And there are nearly 10 English movie channels which show films (most with U/A rating) all through the day featuring long kisses and sex scenes. Aren’t Indian children at risk there?
And what about English music channels telecasting all through the day the Britneys and Madonnas in clothes that need to be found on their body!
Is the government trying to play Big Brother in this age of technology? Why not leave it to parents to control what their kids watch on TV? How is the government trying to ensure kids do not access sexual/pornographic content on the freely available Internet, not just on computers but also on mobiles? They can watch ‘The Dirty Picture’ anytime of the day on YouTube. Is the government now going to ban the Internet?
When the government should be promoting sex education in schools, it is keeping itself busy with deciding when should ‘The Dirty Picture’ be telecast.
It’s high time the government introspects...