The Central Board of Film Certification has asked makers of Bollywood movie Phillauri to remove a scene that shows the male protagonist chanting verses from the Hanuman Chalisa, which is considered sacred by followers of Hinduism. The CBFC claims that the scene in which actor Suraj Sharma recites the verses to pacify a ghost and not eradicate it was inappropriate.
“This amounted to hurting of religious sentiments,” an official told DNA. The Chalisa will now be replaced with an incoherent chant. The board has also asked that the Anshai Lal-directed film not include more than two slaps.
Producers of the Anushka Sharma-starrer have also been asked to include a disclaimer saying they do not believe in ghosts or superstitions. “In my opinion, it is not the CBFC’s job to sit in judgment on the content of a film. Not propagating superstition and blind faith falls in the jurisdiction of the state government,” CBFC Chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani told DNA.
The film has received a U/A certification, which allows unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children below the age of twelve.
The board and its chief have often been on the receiving end of criticism for their curbs on films in the country. Reports of its current censure were mocked on social media.
Earlier this month, the censor board was in the news for refusing to certify Malayalam film Ka Bodyscapes for “glorifying” homosexual relationships and for showing a Muslim woman masturbating. On February 23, the CBFC had faced backlash after it refused to certify Prakash Jha’s upcoming film Lipstick Under My Burkha for being “lady-oriented” and depicting women’s “fantasy above life”.