Malayalam director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Sexy Durga has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification. With 21 audio mutes and a U/A certificate, the film’s name has been changed to S Durga so as to not hurt religious sentiments. “What S stands for is now open to interpretation. It can be sexy or anything else,” Sasidharan said. “The bhakts will be cursed if they imagine S as sexy, so they are requested to imagine something sacred.”
The title change and audio muting is only for the planned theatrical release in November, the director said. Sexy Durga will retain its original title and play without censor cuts when it is eventually streamed online.
S Durga was earlier denied exemption for certification by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for it to be screened at the Mumbai Film Festival (October 12-18). The exemption is mandatory for films to be shown without censorship at the festival. Sasidharan had told Scroll.in, “They think it defames goddess Durga. But it is not about the goddess. The problem is that they haven’t seen the film but are rejecting it. This kind of discriminatory practices will destroy film festivals and independent filmmakers.”
S Durga is a road movie that looks at the hostile environment a woman has to navigate when she steps out of her comfort zone. In an earlier interview, Sasidharan said about the film’s original title, “The title and the film blended... it is about how we worship goddesses on the one hand and how we treat women on the other.”
With a CBFC certificate, S Durga is eligible to be screened at any Indian film festival. Sasidharan said he wasn’t bothered with the audio mutes, since they do not affect his film. No scenes have been cut.