‘Sanju’ in Troubled Waters as NCW Receives Complaint Against the Film for Derogatory Remarks Against Sex Workers

There seems to be no respite for the Ranbir Kapoor starrer ‘Sanju’. Only recently, a complaint had been filed with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) against the film regarding the ‘inaccurate portrayal of living conditions in Indian jails’. The complaint related to a particular scene in the trailer which shows Ranbir Kapoor (as Dutt) in a prison uniform inside his cell when suddenly the toilet starts overflowing and floods his cell. This update has been covered here.

As a recent development, the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday i.e. June 27, 2018 received a complaint against actors Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and director Rajkumar Hirani for using derogatory language against women and sex workers in the upcoming biopic ‘Sanju’.

The complaint has been forwarded to the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) to take necessary action. The EMMC, a unit under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, has been tasked to monitor the content of television channels and report on violations of the programme and advertising code.

The complaint filed, just two days before the release, by advocate and social activist Gaurav Gulati referred to certain dialogues where the film allegedly ‘demeans the status of sex workers in the society’.

“As per the trailer, there are highly outrageous and derogatory dialogues being delivered between Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma,” the complaint said about a scene where Sharma asks Kapoor (as Dutt) how many women he (Dutt) has slept with, to which he replied over 300 women including prostitutes.

“In the name of biography, these Bollywood celebrities are mocking the under-privileged sex workers as well as misguiding the youth just to polish the image of a person. By watching the trailer of the aforesaid movie, it is crystal clear that they are showing women as sex slaves and changed the whole identity of the women,” the letter continued.

As per reports, Gulati has also asked the Commission to summon the cast and makers of the film and requested the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to delete the dialogue in controversy.

Interestingly, there have been similar instances in the past. Apparently, the Madras High Court had issued a notice to the CBFC on a PIL seeking removal of a scene, which allegedly denigrates women, from the Tamil film ‘Merlin’, here.

As per reports, the CBFC watched the biopic Sanju last week and certified the film with only one cut. The filmmakers have been asked by the CBFC to get rid of a scene showing an overflowing toilet in Dutt’s prison cell for “aesthetic reasons”.

The CBFC certifies any film only after a careful consideration of all factors and in accordance with the elaborate guidelines issued by the Central Government under Section 5B(2) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 which, among others, includes that “scenes degrading or denigrating women in any manner are not presented”.

The guidelines also state that the CBFC must ensure that – (i) a film is judged in its entirety from the point of view of its overall impact and (ii) is examined in the light of the period depicted in the film and the contemporary standards of the country and the people to whom the film relates, provided that the film does not deprave the morality of the audience.

Considering that the film has already been granted certification, it would be interesting to see what is the outcome of this complaint.

Image Source: Here