‘Begum Jaan’ Gets 12 Major Cuts; Vidya Balan Not Allowed To Abuse

Sorry, but you won’t have the pleasure of hearing Vidya Balan talk dirty in her new film Begum Jaan. Playing the madame of a brothel, cussing and abusing were a part of the Balan-esque lexicon in this film. However the CBFC has stepped in to scrub the actress’ mouth clean.

In spite of being certified for an ‘Adult’ viewership and the brave nonchalant declarations of the film’s director about “no cuts”, Begum Jaan, the forthcoming film by Bengali director Srijit Mukherjee about a brothel on the border under threat of being torn apart by the partition of India, has been censored and slashed in a major way.

Several of the scenes have been gravely curtailed. These include a lengthy lovemaking scene and a sequence showing communal carnage on a bus.

A source The lovemaking scene has been reduced by half. The CBFC found the pounding and thrusting which Srijit accentuated to show how sex is used to subjugate women, to be excessive even for an adult audience. In a sequence showing communal violence in a bus, the massacre has also been reduced by 50 per cent. Srijit argued that an adult viewership can decide for itself whether the sexual and political violence is excessive. However the CBFC made it very clear that the two key sequences have to be reduced, or the film won’t be certified.

Also ordered out were innumerable cuss words profanities and abuses. The director’s argument that the coarse language is an integral part of the language used by the prostitutes in the film, fell on deaf ears.

Counter-argues a CBFC source:

CBFC source To remain in character as a prostitute, the actor doesn’t have to keep using abusive language. Sharmila Tagore played a prostitute in Mausam. She used just one profanity in the film. And Shabana Azmi played the madame of a brothel in Shyam Benegal’s Mandi. How many times did she use the ‘ch*d’ word-variations to punctuate her coarseness?

All the references to the crude ‘ch**’ Hindi word for copulation have been ordered out of Begum Jaan.

Reads the CBFC order, “Deleted the dialogues ‘behenchod’ (replaced with ‘behen ki jaat’ and ‘behen ki’), ‘madarchod’ (replaced with ‘madarjaat’), ‘bahen di loudi’ (replaced with ‘haraami’), ‘kudichod’ (replaced with ‘arrey oh’) where they occur.”

Errrrr….arrrey oh???!!!!

A still from Raj Kahini, in which Rituparna Sengupta played Vidya Balan’s character.

Curiously in Raj Kahini ,the original Bangla version of Begum Jaan, Rituparna Sengupta, who played Vidya Balan’s character, was allowed to say a lot of the above words.

Is it okay to abuse in regional languages and not okay in the national language?

Join The Quint on WhatsApp. Type “JOIN” and send to 9910181818.