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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - Indians Don't Swear

I can't make up my mind, whether to call this moral policing or gross stupidity. Or maybe it is just a part of the hypocritical double standards we have or then again maybe people just do not want to open their eyes to reality.

Slumdog Millionaire opened in India last week in English and Hindi. The Censor Board of Film certification, in their wisdom have given an "Adult" rating to the English version and a U/A rating to the hindi version. Ostensibly the reason for this discrimination is the excessive usage of swear words in the english version. The swear words have been bleeped out in the hindi version.

Does it not sound like the censor board thinks that Indians don't swear at all. Yes, there are puritans in India who do not, but imagining that no one in India has ever used the swear words or have not heard a few from the non-puritan people is closing one's eyes too much. Especially when one talks of people living in the slums, well they are the ones who do not feel any social obligation to behave in a gentlemanly or lady-like manner.

Have these censor board people never been to school or college? If they have not that would explain a lot of things. But if they have and still feel that the Indian kids are blissfully ignorent or too innocent to know about or use swear words, these people are kidding themselves or are just abusing their power to project a holier-than thou image which everyone knows to be a farce. These people are no worse than the Ram Sene who attacked the girls and boys in the Mangalore pub. And these are the very people who dignify, by the misuse of their supposed legality and authority, acts of moral policing and social intolerance.

In any case there are enough swear words floating around in the Indian movies and on TV. Just that they may not be as 'dirty'. So there too we have drawn an imaginary line of discrimination. It's like, these swear words are okay and the others are not. A swear word is a swear word and is a reflection of anger, disgust or hatred. It hardly makes a difference what words are used as long as the feeling is conveyed. Why have this bias? It gets worse when a word is bleeped out from the TV serial or a movie, because then one imagines which swear word the actor used. That it takes out the fun from the scene as also disrupts the flow of the dialogue.

As it is a dubbed movie takes out the soul of the movie. When one starts cutting scenes or dialogues from the movie, it gets worse and the spirit in which the multitude of people worked for producing the movie is lost. There are millions of people who would want to see the english version but can not because their kids are too young to be left alone, they would be forced to see a second hand product, if at all they decide to see the movie. It does not matter even if their kids are using much worse swear words in their own lives.

There is a limit to which Government or society should go to, to control the lives of others. The puritans we are, no action has ever been taken to curb or ban or even legalise prostitution, but swear words, well they are not so difficult to handle. We can always close our eyes or ears and there you have it. We are a pure society. Aren't We?

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