Producer Guneet Monga is relieved that her latest project “Haraamkhor” has been cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) after it was denied a certificate by the censor board.
Directed by Shlok Sharma, the film chronicles a relationship between a 14-year-old girl (Shweta Tripathi) and her tuition teacher, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in a small town.
Earlier this year, the Examining Committee of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had declined to pass the film citing that its theme was “unacceptable.”
The Tribunal, however, has cleared the film which is now scheduled to release on January 13.
Guneet says the panel at Tribunal was more forthcoming and understood the point “Haraamkhor” was trying to make.
“It took us around six months for the whole case in tribunal. But the panel at tribunal saw the film and said it is actually educational, this should go to the larger audience. This is exactly what we were saying,” Guneet told.
“Tribunal was just outstandingly phenomenal. Everybody on the panel were great, there were women on the panel too. I am deeply grateful to them because this is a landmark judgement,” she added.
Guneet, who has backed films like “The Lunchbox”, “Peddlers” and “Monsoon Shootout”, says the movie has now been given a U/A certificate with certain cuts which the makers agreed to.
“At the censor board, they outrightly denied to give a certificate. We went to the revising committee and they said cut few scenes and that is what we challenged. If we were to accept those cuts, we would get an A certificate. We challenged that at FCAT.
“There is a scene where he (Nawazuddin) is hitting the girl, and a few scenes, where they (tribunal) have said can you reduce them to a certain percentage. So we are ok in accepting that. We are open to work with reasonable conversation,” she said.
Guneet says the Tribunal was at least open to have a dialogue and even the makers were not “mindlessly” trying to put up a fight.
“They are not saying to cut the scenes in a flash, they are saying if you do these things we will give you a U/A. It opens up the avenue. I am very happy doing that. We are not trying to mindlessly fight something.
“One wants to have a conversation, but if you say ‘this is just not possible’ then what is the counter argument to that? In today’s day and age, with Internet booming and cell phones, what is hidden from public?,” she said.
“Haraamkhor” premiered at 15th annual New York Indian Film Festival, where Siddiqui received the Best Actor award for his performance.
The film was also presented the Silver Gateway of India trophy at the 17th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.