Full House at Palm Springs Festival but No House in Indian CBFC for Laxmi


Mumbai, January 9 (Washington Bangla Radio, USA) - Lakshmi ran to a full house when it was screened at the recent Palm Springs International Film Festival in California.The film revolves around a teenage girl, Lakshmi, who was abducted and forced into prostitution, but struggles on to get justice for herself. Singer Monali Thankur, of the song ‘Zara Zara Touch Me’ from the film ‘Race’ plays the lead role. Kukunoor too features as an actor, playing the role of a pimp.

Kukunoor’s reality-based film ‘Lakshmi’ which deals with sensitive issues like human trafficking and child prostitution has found itself in censor trap of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), India’s apex film censorship body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

When the film was shown to the board in November 2013, they found certain scenes of the film objectionable and hence failed to clear the film with any certification. The board has passed on the film to the revising committee for further decision. Three weeks into action, even the committee is not showing any interest in clearing Kukunoor’s film which has made his wait infinite.

The director, who is currently in California, informed Mumbai Mirror, a daily tabloid, “There is a constant shuffle of officials in the censor board right now. My film is up for release and CBFC has no time to see it. The essence of the film is the truth which needs to be told. I will take up this case as soon as I reach India.” This clarifies that the filmmaker has no intention to compromise on the content and change it as per CBFC.

The trailer of Lakshmi too saw some dark lines coming from the board on the subject of the film itself. The board objected to a dialogue from the film ‘machine mei tel daal, factory kholna hai’ (Put the oil into machine, let the factory be opened). Even his first film ‘Hyderabad Blues’ failed to get the green light initially from the censor board. The board wanted 91 cuts throughout the film but later agreed with just three audio beeps.

When director Nagesh Kukunoor decided to launch his upcoming film Lakshmi’s trailer on October 21st, 2013, he must have hardly realized at that point that his film will fail to successfully pass through the censorship of CBFC. Now that it’s a reality, the director blames the board for delaying the release beyond January 17th, 2014 as scheduled.