No Fathers in Kashmir released last week to a lot of critical acclaim, but the journey to its release has been extremely tumultuous for the team of the film. The CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) sat on the Ashvin Kumar-directed film for over eight months, with Ashvin battling them to put out the film that he had set out to make.
The makers of the film have now released the censored footage from the film on YouTube. Director Ashvin Kumar gave a statement saying that the whole process has “mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted” him.
Ashvin said in his statement, “The first caption the censors made me place in front of the film says: ‘This film is inspired by the pervading militancy and terrorism in Kashmir” it is the most bizarre statement and I would never make a statement like that. It goes against the last 10 years of work that I have done in the Kashmir valley. After 8 months of waiting, I must admit I was totally mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.”
The order by the CBFC states that there should be about eight deletions/modifications, and five disclaimers must be added to the film. Also, some cuss words were asked to be beeped out.
He added, “Having made us spend sleepless nights and run from hearing to hearing for 9 months they went about mutilating the film without either logic or legal justification. I have not yet seen my film in the theatre because I am deeply disheartened by what remains. It took me four years of hard work to make the film. It took the censors seven screenings and six hearings to slash, mutilate and compromise this labour of love.”
Ashvin also mentioned the major disruption in narrative that censorship causes and said,
"“What you are about to watch are scenes that they cut out. And you’ll see that they do not make the film any more or less suitable for a UA or A audience — which is the real job of the censors. They are simply an exercise of power in the form of snub. In the description below the video you can read the disclaimers they forced us to add. Kashmir is in a crisis of compassion.”" - Ashvin Kumar, Filmmaker
The video released shows that in one scene ‘Martyred in the custody of Indian Forces’ is blurred out. In another scene a teacher explains to a bunch of children how the LOC divides Kashmir into two parts, but tells them not to write it in their exams as their marks would be cut. The CBFC removes the bit where the teacher mentioned that ‘their marks would be cut’.
"“If we are to be compassionate to our fellow citizen in Kashmir, we have to start telling the truth. Censorship only produces hate, hostility, suspicion and fear in society. I just want to say that it is not films that create fear, it is censorship that creates fear.”" - Ashvin Kumar, Filmmaker
The makers have also released screen-grabs of the censor order given by the board demanding the cuts and edits.
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