Film viewers in India were in for some bad when Sony Pictures announced that the keenly-awaited The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo , had been banned. An official Sony statement read:
The Censor Board (of India) has
adjudged the film unsuitable for public viewing in its unaltered form. And while we are committed to maintaining and protecting the vision of the director, we will, as always, respect the guidelines set by the board.
News of the ban
has not just disappointed viewers, it has also shocked the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) who rather expected Sony to accept their long and unacceptable list of suggested cuts. CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur said:
We are disturbed at the bad press it has generated, especially internationally. If they were unhappy with the decision, they should have brought it to the notice of the senior officers. We did not hear from Sony Pictures, nothing was brought to our
notice, till we read about it in the papers.
The CBFC's proposed cuts for Dragon Tattoo include two graphic lovemaking scenes between journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Mara), a lesbian sex scene
between Lisbeth and a barfly, a rape sequence and a scene in which she tortures her rapist, with a video of her being assaulted playing in the background. Thakur says the film was issued an A certificate, after extensive cuts, on December 19,
Sony didn't follow up the option of going to the revising committee to appeal against the cuts either, again to the annoyance of the film censors. Thakur ranted:
CBFC functions like a quasi-judicial
organisation. From the lower court you go to the High Court and Supreme Court. So if they had a problem, the producers should have taken it to the next level. Filmmakers have a chance to be heard, cuts are discussed with them. They have lost so much time
by not bringing it to our notice.
But Sony's spokesperson took a further dig at the squirming film censor and quickly dismissed the option as useless:
No appeal ever works.
Another issue irking the CBFC is that Dragon Tattoo had faced similar censorship problems in Malaysia and the Gulf countries. Japan rejected the original film too and okayed a revised version with pixellated scenes. Thakur lamented:
If they have accepted that in Japan, then why take such a stand in India?