By Manasi Nene
In a move that’s got us going “abeyy, watch!” rather than “Baywatch!”, the Central Board of Film Certification isn’t cutting out scenes featuring bikini bodies from the new movie. There’s only one visual cut required, but four instances of swearing will be cut in the A-rated version of this movie, set to release later this week.
If you recall, the CBFC isn’t a stranger to imposing cuts based on some old-fashioned notion of Indian morality. Lipstick Under My Burkha was allowed to run in India after much controversy, and Baar Baar Dekho had to face cuts because of 1) a bra 2) a Savita Bhabhi reference. Clearly, healthy family values must be falling apart. Visuals of bras were also cut in Queen, James Bond’s make-out sessions were reduced to pecks, and a shot sexualising men in Angry Indian Goddesses didn’t sit too well with the CBFC.
Toh ab bikinis are cool?
The CBFC is now going to remove all signs of physical and verbal abuse against women – it comes from a good place, though we don’t know what this means for larger issues of creative freedom. We have no idea where this sudden laxness is coming from, but we’re glad, we think?
Being able to show a bra, a bikini-body, a middle finger – it’s less about the notion of some absolute morality than just being able to normalise the idea that women’s bodies don’t have to be hypersexualised all the time. If a bra shows, we’re not exactly spilling state secrets by admitting that we wear one. If we feel good in any sort of beachwear, we’re more than entitled to wear it, without having to worry about what unknown dudes think of it.
We’re glad that there’s no uncleji-behenji type moral-policing going on with regards to what Priyanka Chopra wears onscreen, and Nihalani’s claim that there is “no rationale to cut the bikini images” is also quite refreshing. Now we only wish they stopped making such a big deal of sanskar, and let us enjoy our beach-bodies in peace.