FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT
Banned in India: My Censorship Battle
The Indian government has waged war on Raj Amit Kumar’s Unfreedom, banning the film in India.
On March 5, 2015, the Indian Censors declared that the film Unfreedom couldn’t be certified for public viewing in India. In the following satiric piece by the film’s director, Raj Amit Kumar, based on actual statements made by the Indian Censors about his film, he is questioning not just their decision about his film, but the validity of their authority to censor any film.
God: Indians will rape, Indians will kill in the name of religion, and India will put homosexuals in jail. But don’t you dare, bloody filmmaker, bring India shame. I am here to protect Indian honor.
Filmmaker: But listen, I am a proud Indian, I am only trying to show something that India should fight against—
God: Shut up. The common people of India are not evolved. Have you not heard that Indian minds are susceptible and volatile? I can understand any intelligent and important statement you may be attempting to make, but common Indians are illiterate, stupid, and incapable of making any sense of a film like yours.
Filmmaker: That’s not true—
God: Shut up, Filmmaker. What do you know? When average Indians watch a movie, they either go home and start fucking anyone they find because the film ignites baser passions, or they start killing in the name of religion because the film ignites communal passions. Your film does both. Too much filth. I will not allow communal killing or perverted fucking because of a stupid film like yours.
Filmmaker: But how is that possible?
God: Shut up. How can you have nudity on screen and not expect rape to happen across the country? Our cinema is better than that of every other part of the world, simply because we don’t allow nudity. Foreigners come here with on-screen sex to pollute our culture. Can you not learn from Bollywood how to show nudity? Have you not seen those bikini-clad white women dancing with our popular stars? Those item numbers, you know? Our culture is so lofty that we even bring porn stars to Bollywood and we give them bikinis. There is an India-genous thing called bikini nudity. How difficult was it for your costume team to find a bikini? And, for you, to learn some basic lessons in Indian bikini filmmaking?
Filmmaker: But I studied cinema for a long time. I have degrees in cinema—
God: Shut up. You have been away so long studying in foreign lands that you have forgotten your culture. You must understand that having so many kinds of Muslims and homosexuals in your film is only confusing your message. Actually, we see that you are focusing mostly on that violent Muslim man who is going around killing everyone. I read the newspapers and I know about ISIS. And, if you are showing Islam, how dare you also show Hindu symbols in the same film? Such a vain attempt to counterbalance Islamic fundamentalism with Hindu fundamentalism. You are a vain filmmaker and your film has no message.
Filmmaker: No message?
God: Shut up. You heard me. You cannot show pointless and avoidable scenes of violence. You cannot show any scene of children as victims of violence. That may happen in India, but there is no reason for us to show that in our films. We will deal with it in some other way. Learn from Bollywood. Bollywood films have profound representation of sexuality and violence.
God: Shut up. Yes. In the films we pass from Bollywood, none of the human sensibilities are offended by vulgarity, depravity, and obscenity in them. Item numbers and camera gyrating in sync with bikini-covered asses in Bollywood is only Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment. Have you not heard of something called “clean and healthy entertainment”?
God: Shut up. We have never passed a film that denigrates women or showed sexual violence against women. We are saviors of our women and children. We will never allow any filmmaker to show anything vulgar being done to our women. Fuck you, motherfucking filmmaker. How dare you show one woman naked gyrating on another woman? How dare you show bare breasts and ass cheeks? How dare women in your film use cuss words and pretend to be in love? How dare you show them getting raped when they stand up to their father? There are no rapes in India. There is no police brutality in India. And there are no homosexuals in India.
Filmmaker: You are going over the top now—
God: Shut up. Insolent Filmmaker, don’t you know, after all your education, the effects of cinema? When you show violence in your film, there will be more rapes and more violence. You are sowing seeds of “honor raping” in India. We told you that our Indian audience is susceptible and after watching your film they will go out and start honor rapes. There may be rape happening every half-hour in India, but where don’t men force themselves on women? Rape also happens in America. And anyway, these lesbians might be cured by the real thing. How else will their disease be fixed? Above all, these things may be happening, but that does not mean you are allowed to show them in your film. Don’t you understand your responsibility towards society as a filmmaker? And towards India?
Filmmaker: I do—
God: Shut up. You don’t. How dare you show India in such a light? Don’t you see all the development and progress happening around you? All the malls and multiplexes we have now? We even have Starbucks and McDonald’s. Don’t you see the positive side of India? You fucking filmmakers just try to sell sex, poverty, and violence. From Satyajit Ray to Danny Boyle, you don’t see anything else in India. All you see is poverty, rapes, communal violence, rapes, abuse on women, rapes, economic disparity, poverty, rapes. Why can’t you see malls, metro, Coke, Adidas, IPL, so many TV channels we have now, and high-speed Internet, and yoga. Can’t you see the global power India is now? Can’t you see the whole world is singing and dancing to Bollywood tunes now? Even at Cannes. What the hell is your problem, you stupid bhenchod filmmaker?
Filmmaker: I need therapy—
God: Yes, you do.
Filmmaker: Do you have the Idiot’s Guide to Filmmaking in India? Where can I buy it?
God: Now you’re talking sense. If you would just read our guidelines before making films. Follow our rules and you won’t be spreading perversion and homosexuality in this country. We all know homosexuals have no right to live in India. They should be raped into heterosexuality or put in jail or both. You can’t show that they love, and they desire, and they get horny. They are sex-crazy hormonal-disordered maniacs. How can you show that in your film? Are you a maniac?
Filmmaker: Therapy won’t do. I need a real doctor.
God: Shut up. Are you making fun of me now? First, you dare to offend Muslims, Hindus, straights, and even homosexuals in one film. And now you stand before me, trying to offend me, the God of Censorship and a representative of your own government. You are an offender. It is my job to protect the audiences of India from offenders like you. Your freedom of speech is hence curtailed, because in India, freedom of speech does not allow you to offend.