The examining committee of India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) denied certification to controversial film ‘Mohalla Assi’ directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, himself a member of the CBFC, after it “evoked extreme reactions” from some members, reported Mumbai Mirror on 8 April 2016.
The film, based on a well-known novel, features profanity and blasphemy as it tells the story of the commercialisation of the holy city of Varanasi, overrun by tourism and opportunists.
Producer Vinay Tiwari told Mumbai Mirror that he believes that the denial is due to differences between Dwivedi and CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, since the film has been rejected continually since the submission of their first trailer in 2015.
The film has been plagued for years. Production was delayed for several years over non-payment allegations.
In June 2015, a court pushed the July release date after watching a trailer for the film, stating that until the “religiously hurtful scenes and dialogues/words wherein the abusive and filthy language has been used are removed, the movie should not be released”, reported The Indian Express on 30 June 2015.
The movie was further plagued in August 2015 when the finished movie, yet to be vetted by the CBFC, was leaked online.
Hopes were high in January 2016 that the film would still be officially screened as lead actor Sunny Deol told The Indian Express on 7 January 2016 that “if the censor has objections toward certain things, then it can be removed as it will not take away the essence of the film”.
» Mumbai Mirror – 8 April 2016:
Censors refuse certificate to Sunny starrer
» Huffington Post – 8 April 2016:
‘Mohalla Assi’ faces censor scissors, denied certification by Pahlaj Nihalani’s board
» Bollywood Hungama – 8 April 2016:
Mohalla Assi banned by censor board
» Asian Age – 6 April 2016:
CBFC bans member’s film, Mohalla Assi
» The Indian Express – 7 January 2016:
Sunny Deol has plans to screen ‘Mohalla Assi’
» The Indian Express – 30 June 2015:
Court stays release of Sunny Deol’s ‘Mohalla Assi’
» Artsfreedom.org – 11 March 2016:
India: Two superhero blockbusters suffer cuts
» Artsfreedom.org – 4 March 2016:
India: Non-state groups ban Bollywood film featuring homosexual relationship
» Artsfreedom.org – 12 February 2016:
India: Frustrations in film industry over censorship