In what could be an unprecedented move, the Central Board of Film Certification has muted words from the film Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu, while it passed the film without any changes in the promotional video.
Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu is an adaptation of the novel, which goes by the same name, written by renowned Kannada writer Poornachandra Tejaswi, son of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu. The adaptation released on March 11, 2016 was interspersed with muted words, which angered the audience. Even film reviews on various dailies have mentioned how this has damaged the film.
Director Suman Kittur said the film is based on a group of women from Kiraguru who make men realise the power and importance of women.
"People are enjoying the film. But they have also taken to social media demanding the CBFC to remove the muted words because it is hindering the quality of the film," said Suman.
Suman claims that the book was prescribed as reading material by universities in Karnataka for degree students.
"If the government has introduced the book to degree students then why is the same government destroying its film adaptation?" asks Suman.
Reflecting on the same idea, Suresh B - a filmmaker from Karnataka - calls the board's decision absurd. He says that it just does not make sense that the government approved youngsters to read those words in the novel but will not allow people to hear them.
"CBFC can allow words like 'Bastard' to be heard but when the Kannada equivalent 'Sule Magane' is used, they want to ban it. Isn't it catering to an elitist audience? The usage of some cuss words in the regional language is such that it is said out of love and not necessarily to offend a person," he said.
Suresh noted that none of the board members who watched the film were from a rural background.
He said that the board's job is to only give a certificate. It cannot remove or mute words from the film and spoil the quality.
"The essence of the film is gone. Not that people at the grassroot level just keep cursing each other, but some words like 'chaddi' which means shorts in English, are unreasonably banned," he said.
Agni Sridhar, the film's scriptwriter said, "If they have allowed it in the promo, then how can they mute the words and lines from the main film? They have not come up with an explanation, but they have to give us the reason on Monday. The board has asked us to meet themon Monday to place our demands."
"We are asking for a no-objection certificate so that the lines and visuals can be added. If they don't act, we will approach the court. It is illegal that they have allowed the words in the promotional video and deleted them from the main film," he said.
With the filmmakers and the CBFC set for a showdown, it remains to be seen what fate finally awaits the film.