So I watched Delhi Belly today. Yeah OK, apparently half the country has seen it, and opinions are, putting it mildly, divided. I found it to be extremely funny in parts. As for the rest, the director hoped people mouthing rude words would be funny by definition. It's not.
However, this is not another review of this pathbreaking/pathetic, brilliant/crude, voice of the youth/completely against Indian culture (all adjectives used to describe this movie by various reviewers. I don't want to appear like I am "biased". God knows that got me into enough trouble last week.) movie. No, this is about how much India needs a film certification board rather than a censor board.
Delhi Belly has received an "A" or adult certificate from the censor board of India. This tells me that the censor board thinks this film is suitable for adults only. However, it told me the same thing about "Rakta Charita", and I would much, much rather any 15-yr old watch Delhi Belly than that gorefest. The certificate tells me nothing about WHY it has received the "A" tag. As a viewer, I may be fine with any amount of curses and shit-based humor (which is what the promos of the movie made it out to be), but draw a line at the simulated oral sex and the pretty graphic close-up of a gunshot wound. Or it could be the other way around. The point is, the censor certificate does not help me make an informed choice at all, but rather tells me, like a father talking to a petulant child, that this film is not appropriate for anyone under 18, thereby lumping my 17 -year old cousin and my 4-year-old niece in the same bracket.
I have personally always been against censorship of art. I find it insulting to my intelligence, and more importantly, I find it akin to coddling. The idea that a group of people, who have not really had to pass any standardized examination or be elected by the people, actually get to dictate what the rest of the country gets to see or not see, while they themselves are allowed to see any-and-everything because it's their "job", is something that makes me more than uncomfortable. If a director chooses to include a steamy scene that is exploitive and pointless, then he has made a bad movie and intelligent movie audience will stay away anyway. As for the front-benchers, they will get their kicks from somewhere, censor board or no censor board. Forcing cuts does not protect our innocent children in any way, shape or form. Most of those innocent children have access to graphic pornographic content anyway. However, I do want to be informed about what kind of a product I am shelling out my hard earned cash for. Sure, the censor board can tell me if they feel that a movie is appropriate for a 15-year old or not, but unless they give me reasons, the certificate is absolutely pointless.
The overwhelming success of Delhi Belly has proved the nation that its citizens aren't exactly delicate lilies who need to be protected from words, four-letter or otherwise. What's even more interesting is that this is a movie marketed at the urban youth, but at least at the screening I attended there were more than a few shirt and tie executive types and saree-clad moms, laughing just as hard as the kids. None of them seemed to be people who needed to be told what they were allowed to watch. None seemed to be there dragged in against his or her own will and forced to watch a movie they thought abhorrent and ugly. The only thing negative I heard from some of the audience after the show was that the film went a little "too far".
A proper film certification board, which would tell us the Delhi Belly has been suggested for adults only for heavy profanity, some simulated sexual scenes and scenes of violence with blood would have been far more useful for them than just a pointless, meaningless "A".