The Danish Girl was never cleared for TV viewing: Pahlaj Nihalani clarifies – Nihalani finds the whole debate on creative freedom very muddled
Tom Hooper’s highly-acclaimed film The Danish Girl about the first surgically operated trans-gender woman in the world, was never meant for Indian television.
Says Pahlaj Nihalani, “We certified the film for ‘Adults’ with no cuts for a theatrical release. As per rules there is no separate certification for television broadcast. However since we wouldn’t want the distributor to miss out on some added revenue we agreed out of good faith to view the film on Thursday evening for possible re-certification. But even before we could view the film they had announced their telecast of The Danish Girl for March 26. How can they announce the telecast before censor certification? It’s completely illegal!”
The censor board took time off to re-view the film on Thursday evening. “We postponed the screening of another film and scheduled The Danish Girl after it was submitted to us with voluntary modification by the producers of the content, so that the ‘A’ certification could be possibly converted to ‘UA’ or ‘U’ for telecast. However when we viewed their modified version we found it unsuitable for telecast and refused a revised certification. That should’ve been the end of that.”
Nihalani finds the whole debate on creative freedom very muddled. “When we cut anything at the censor board we are accused of curbing freedom. But when a producer wants to earn some extra revenue he voluntarily makes cuts and comes to us. We had not cut a single shot in The Danish Girl. The producers made the cuts and came to us. What happened to freedom of expression?”