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While Pahlaj Nihalani Fiddles, Pirated Prints Of The Banned Fifty Shades Darker Have Become Burning Hot

Censor Board should grow up. Internet rules the roost and you can't keep anything away from anybody. Plus, the demand for forbidden films is increasing big time

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While Pahlaj Nihalani Fiddles, Pirated Prints Of  The Banned Fifty Shades Darker Have Become Burning Hot
Even as Pahlaj Nihalani’s ever-controversial Central Board of Film Certification, has clamped down on a documentary on the politician Anand Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party,  bootlegged prints of  Hollywood’s banned erotic thriller Fifty Shades Darker are now accessible for home entertainment viewing.

dakota johnson and jamie dornan in a still from the banned film 50 shades darker
Dakota Johnson And Jamie Dornan In A Still From 50 Shades Darker

Which just goes to the show India’s Censor Board could well have become a behind-the-times, ineffective watchdog. Cuts, bleeps of dialogue and ouright banning of movies continues, without taking into account the fact that times have changed. Nothing can be kept repressed in the era of internet and the digital boom. Even the Kejriwal documentary has already been screened at various festivals.

Nihalani, in a first, has also raised objections to films being screened at film festivals, here and abroad, without censor certificates. For five decades and more, films have been screened at the government-supported festivals in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Goa without submitting the entries to the board. Local festivals like the MAMI in Mumbai doesn’t have to follow the diktat suddenly demanded by Nihalani.

jamie dornan and dakota johnson in an intimate bathroom scene from 50 shades darker
Jamie Dornan And Dakota Johnson In An Intimate Scene From 50 Shades Darker

Coming back to Fifty Shades Darker – the second in the Shades series (Fifty Shades of Grey was banned here two years ago) – the reason for banning it was curious to say the least. Our censors contended that Fifty Shades Darker was cleared with an R-restricted certificate in the U.S. and in U.K.for those viewers who are over 18 years of age and above. The Indian censorship rules don’t have such ceritificates and so decreed that it was beyond their area of authority. That it could have been given an ‘Adults Only’ certificate, with some cuts if need be, didn’t figure in the censors’ scope of reasoning.

In any case, Fifty Shades Darker is way tamer than several earlier erotic thrillers, notably 9 ½ Weeks and Body Heat, to mention only two examples.

jamie dornan and dakota johnson in a still from the banned film 50 shades darker
Jamie Dornan And Dakota Johnson In A Still From 50 Shades Darker

The prints of Fifty Shades Darker doing the rounds –  on pen drives and compact discs at the stalls of pirated movies, particularly around the city’s and suburbs’ railway stations – have become hotter than the proverbial hot cakes.

Moral of the story: Pahlaj Nihalani and his censorship crew may do their worse. But for forbidden films the market is, unfortunately, getting better. Inadvertently, the bans are increasing the curse of piracy.
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