INDIAN censors have refused to certify a documentary film featuring Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen unless words like “cow” and “Hindu India” are beeped out, the director said yesterday (July 12), in the latest dispute involving the film board.
Suman Ghosh, a national award-winning director, said he screened his film The Argumentative Indian – adapted from Sen’s book of the same title – for censors in Kolkata on Tuesday (July 11).
After three hours of viewing, officials verbally asked him to delete the terms “cow” – an animal considered sacred for Hindus – “Hindu India” and “Gujarat”.
“In a piece of cinema, I think it’s bizarre to just beep something suddenly,” Ghosh told the NDTV news network, saying he was “quite shocked” by the censors’ objection.
“But I will not make any change at all,” he said.
The documentary had been set for release this weekend.
Filmed over the course of more than 15 years, Ghosh’s new work mainly features Sen, a vocal critic of Modi, and Kaushik Basu, who was chief economic adviser to India’s last Congress-led government, in a conversation that ranges from economics and philosophy to the global rise of nationalism.
It mentions communal riots in Gujarat where at least 1,000 people, were killed in 2002 when prime minister Narendra Modi was chief minister there.
Ghosh said he was yet to receive an official notice from the Mumbai-based Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The CBFC did not immediately respond to several calls and text messages seeking comment.
Sen said he was “absolutely astonished that there was anything controversial about it”.
“The censor board has now made it an interesting film and I am grateful for that,” he told NDTV.