The posters for Taramani, an upcoming Tamil film, take some interesting digs at the CBFC.
One of them says, "According to the censor board, if a man drinks his alcohol raw, it's U/A, if a woman drinks alcohol raw, it's A. Therefore, Taramani is A."
"Why did you leave me and go for the movie?
Because it's an Adult movie, baby.
Fish you, is it only men who are adults?"
Speaking to TNM, director Ram says that the CBFC asked for many cuts to give the film a ‘U/A’certification.
"They told me that the film will have to get 14 cuts for a 'U/A'. But I didn't want so many cuts, so we went for an 'A' certificate," says Ram.
Ram says that the CBFC is likely to introduce adult certification for films which show anyone, regardless of gender, drinking.
According to reports, CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihlani said, “Merely putting a ticker warning at some remote corner of the screen whenever there is smoking or drinking shown, is not enough anymore. We feel the superstars who are followed by millions and who set an example in societal behaviour must not be shown drinking or smoking on screen unless the provocation for doing so is really strong.”
Ram adds that he used the CBFC's response on the film’s posters because it plays into the theme of his film, which deals with the double standards that society employs for men and women.
Although the CBFC's decision, if it is enforced, will apply irrespective of the gender of the actor drinking on screen, alcohol consumption by women is frowned upon more in society.
However, Ram makes it clear that the lines in the poster are not targeted at the CBFC.
"This was the feedback (about the cuts) we got from the four or five people who watched the film from the board. Their personal views might be different but this is the state's view, it's also the public's view," points out Ram. He stresses that what the CBFC considers unacceptable is often what the audience also feels about it, especially when it comes to women."
Ram also says that the posters are meant to encourage more women to come into the theatres and watch this film because 'A' films are generally considered to be only for men.
Even though Taramani has got an 'A' certificate, the filmmaker still had to make about 10 cuts.
"They didn't want the word 'f*ck' in the film even though it's an Adult film," says Ram. "There's no such censorship on platforms like say, YouTube, that everybody accesses. We have all this only for films."
The Hotstar web series As I'm Suffering From Kadhal, directed by Balaji Mohan, for instance, has the women characters swearing in colorful language, in Tamil as well as English. The series is a hit among the young people.
Asked if he feels constrained as a filmmaker because of the CBFC's various rules, Ram says that he doesn't particularly feel restricted.
"As I said, this is what society also feels about it. I make the films I want to make and if they have to be 'Adult' films, it's fine with me," he concludes.