Mundhra’s censor troubles continue, but he’s not complaining

October 18th, 2008 - 8:43 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 18 (IANS) Most of director Jagmohan Mundhra’s films have faced censorship problems and his latest “Shoot On Sight” is no exception. An “inflammatory remark” on Kashmir has been beeped out, but the filmmaker is not complaining.”It could’ve been much worse. During ‘Bawandar’ I went through hell. The censor board loved ‘Shoot On Sight’. They (the censors) objected to the mullah (cleric), played by Om Puri, making what they thought to be an inflammatory remark on Kashmir,” Mundhra told IANS.

“In my ‘Bawandar’, the board had objected to all the expletives. But that’s how the characters speak. Ironically, former censor board chief Asha Parekh wanted to ban ‘Bawandar’. But current censor chief Sharmila Tagore loved the film. So censorial rules are open to many interpretations,” he said.

Set in London, “Shoot On Sight” is based on the July 2007 London bombings. The objectionable dialogue occurs when Om Puri, a radical Muslim from Pakistan based in Britain, talks about the oppression of Muslims across the globe.

“He mentions Chechnya, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Palestine and several other countries and also Kashmir as a place where Muslims are oppressed. The Indian censor board objected, saying we can’t have Kashmir being mentioned as a place where Muslims are oppressed. Fair enough.”

So while Om’s character will mention other countries, which supposedly oppress Muslims, Kashmir has been beeped out.

Isn’t that rather absurd?

Mundhra disagreed saying: “We’ve to keep the Indian audiences’ sentiments in mind. I respect the censorial decision.”

The other beep occurs when a young British man brags to his friends about having scored with a Muslim girl.

“It’s a very boys’ back chat kind of campus scene. This is how excitable young men talk with each other. Though I’m in principle opposed to hurting the sentiments of any community, the board has to remember it’s my characters and not me speaking. Hence if Om Puri is playing a mullah who believes in his own peculiar jihad (holy war), he will say Muslims in Kashmir are oppressed.”

“Shoot On Sight” also stars Naseeruddin Shah, who plays Tariq Ali, a Muslim police officer at Scotland Yard, who is asked to track down suspected suicide bombers involved in the bombings.

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