The unkindest cut
Censorship is a funny thing. I know I’ve ranted on the subject time and again, and this is unlikely to be the last time.
Consider these scenarios from a series being telecast on Star World currently:
[Two people talking; one slightly tipsy, the other trying to work. TIPSY ONE is trying to apologize, and finally gets through.]
WORKING ONE [amused]: Okay. Enough. I forgive you.
TIPSY ONE [smiles, happy]: Really?
[Suddenly, loud voice in the background startles all. MANAGER walks up and addresses WORKING ONE angrily.]
MANAGER: That’s it! You’re fired!
Eh? Fired for being nice to a guest and graciously accepting an apology?
Okay, here’s another:
[Indian restaurant. Two people on a date, and getting along pretty well. In a quiet moment…]
DATE ONE: I love this part, when you look at someone and they don’t look away.
[DATE TWO smiles faintly.]
[Abruptly, DATE TWO suddenly looks very hassled and embarrassed.]
DATE TWO: Could you please pass the chutney?
Hello? Did we miss something?
Well, spot on, clever clogs. We did, because the Unkindest Cut happened! Those dreaded censor scissors at work! The same ones that deem it okay to show WWE-type wrestling shows on the sports channels, and photos of severed limbs scattered around after bomb blasts on news channels.
So what is the idea? That reality is okay is real life but not in fiction? Or violence is all right, but not affection between consenting adults?
The question that really troubles me is, how do you justify censoring a creative work? As an author—albeit not a very successful one—I can categorically state that censoring would be the vilest thing anyone could do to me. When you create something, you intend for it to be viewed or read in a particular manner, in its entirety, as part of a package.
Absolutely nothing could ever justify cutting a part of a creative piece in its presentation. Not even if the whole still makes sense. For it was not meant to be experienced in that manner.
At least show the creator some respect, not to mention the viewer. If, in the TV channels’ and censor officials’ blinkered views, the average audience is not able to handle certain issues, do us a favour and not telecast the show at all. If we need the proverbial fig leaf to gloss over what certain people assume defies “common decency”, then obviously we are not mature enough to handle the show at all, are we?
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