It watches and certifies every film, both Indian and non-Indian, before they can be shown to the country's masses. There is the popular misconception that Bollywood films do not show scenes of a sexual nature: However, when comparing the screen time or manner in which kissing or more "bedroomly" activity is portrayed in Bollywood versus Hollywood, Bollywood is a blushing ballerina, whereas Hollywood is as brazen as a pole-dancing stripper.
Today, Bollywood's most successful actor in terms of earning and award-nominations is Shah Rukh Khan. His first movie appearance was in and he has since starred in more than 80 productions, earning the title "King of Romance". But for the first 20 years of his film career, he didn't kiss a single one of his co-stars. He had a rule: Whether to please director Yash Chopra, or simply taking the chance of getting closer to Katrina Kaif, we shall never know, but kiss Katrina he did — three times … Simple osculation can still cause quite a stir in Bollywood.
Films are actively marketed on the numbers of lip locks they contain. Last year's Shuddh Desi Romance traded on its rumoured 27 kisses to tempt in the audiences. With all these excitable tongues wagging, you would be forgiven for thinking it's something new on screen in India, but it's not: The earliest attempt to exercise an element of control over India's film industry came during the British Raj with the Indian Cinematograph Act. This was five years after the release of what is generally considered India's first feature film, 's Raja Harishchandra.
The power of issuing a U certificate suitable for all or an A adults was given to the district magistrates of the various states, with the chiefs of police getting involved for good measure. Ambiguous suggestions of principles to the film inspectors led to confusion as to what would make it through. Early attempts at on-screen liberalism — including the longest kiss in Indian screen history, an almost four-minute epic between Devika Rani and her real-life husband, Himanshu Rai, in 's Karma — fell victim to the censors.
Things further tightened after independence in — both in terms of attitudes towards sex and film censorship in general. The central government took greater control and was assisted by, rather than solely empowering, regional officers. The Cinematograph Act of offered more "principles for guidance in certifying films".
In terms of sexual contact, if a film was against the interests of "decency or morality" then it would not be given a certificate and therefore couldn't be shown. Ways to avoid an inconvenient re-edits emerged.
Shots of two flowers swaying together in the wind, although perplexing to the uninitiated, was one euphemism denoting a kiss and canoodle between the film's starring couple. As for actual sex, the visual metaphors are a touch more direct — I've lost count of the women-in-wet-saris musical montages that appear when the hero and heroine get it on.
Indeed you may never look at an innocent garden hose or municipal fountain in quite the same way again. The most recent amendments to the act occurred more than a generation ago in A lot has changed since then.
With the internet enabling streaming and downloading both legal and illegal it's not difficult for anyone to see pretty much anything. So does censorship even make sense in ? In the most googled person in India was Bollywood actress Sunny Leone. Her first Bollywood film had released just a year earlier, Jism 2 control yourself — "jism" means "body" in Urdu. As the title suggests, it was an erotic thriller, something most actresses would be wary of attempting.
Sunny, however, had no problem; her former career as an overseas porn star no doubt helped. To the yin of Sunny is the yang of performer Ali Zafar. Also a new face in B-Town, he has followed in the footsteps of Khan and included a no-kissing clause in his contracts. For his fourth film, London Paris New York, a body double had to be employed for the snogging.
One key factor is that trips to the cinema in India are a family experience: This attitude of trying to please everyone can result in a disjointed film experience to those not accustomed to the Bollywood staple of "masala" films. These combine comedy, action, tragedy and adventure all in the one story.