Manish Tiwary. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Mumbai, Aug 17 : "Chidiakhana" director Manish Tiwary is upset that he is caught up in battle with the censor board over the certification of his children's film.

He says the movie narrates an inspirational story of an underdog surviving all odds, but is disappointed that they are caught running around in circles to get the certification sorted.

It all started when Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) refused to give the children's film a 'U/A' certificate on the grounds that it depicts violence and discrimination that could disturb children. The Bombay High Court, while hearing a petition filed by Children's Film Society, said that CBFC is a "certification body and not a censor board", and it didn't have the "intellectual morality and authority to decide what one wants to watch".

"The rigmaroles of 'Chidiakhana' mirrors the predicament faced by underdogs anywhere and everywhere in the world. The film's protagonist Sooraj is a football-loving and football-playing teenager who comes to Mumbai to pursue his one passion but instead finds himself swept into the maelstrom of regional conflicts that drags him away from his love for the game. The narrative focus is his game; the so-called violent scenes are necessary contextual embellishments that are done with taste, humour and with children in mind," Tiwary said.

Tiwary says he knew his first film "Dil Dosti Etc" was meant for an adult audience and he had applied for an 'A' certification. His second film "Issaq" received a U/A certification without cuts.

"But 'Chidiakhana' is meant for children. I had my own children in mind while writing and directing the film. We have made a film that has an inspirational story of an underdog surviving the odds and winning something valuable for an entire community. But instead, of the film seeing the light of the day, we are caught running around in circles to get our certification sorted," added Tiwary.

Opening up on the CBFC's call, Tiwary said: "I have pointedly criticised the opaque processes of the board time and again, and have refused to making cuts in exchange of a 'U' certificate but also a much diluted and artistically compromised film. The censor board works with its own peculiar whims and movie-makers suffer at their hands. It's high time that artists have a clear understanding of their freedom of expression." Yashodeep R Deshmukh, counsel of "Chidiakhana", said: "Once you have seen the film in its entirety, keeping in mind the theme, context and the treatment given, particularly to the scenes the CBFC has objected to, the only inference you will draw is that it's a 'U' certificate film." He also stated that "while a 'U' certificate would endorse the film as suitable for all age groups, a 'U/A' certificate would attest that the parents of children below 12 years must use caution while permitting their children to watch these film. Hence, a 'U/A' certification would defeat the entire purpose of releasing the film".

The final hearing will be held on August 23.

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