Censor Board Member Ashoke Pandit, who is going to Censor you?

A lot has been said about the AIB Roast. There have been diverse opinions. Our editor @bhak_sala liked it but was uncomfortable about it@Waatho felt it was mediocre. And a Hindu group and a Christian group felt that it “misleading today’s youth” and “was against Christ” respectively. But the weirdest reaction came from Mr Ashoke Pandit, who said it was a “Porn Show”

I have seen most the AIB knockout, I couldn’t sit through it because I felt the jokes become repetitive, and I did not see any Pornography in it. Pornography is sexual matter, shown for sexual arousal. I wonder if Mr Ashoke Pandit gets “sexually aroused” by filthy language and crude jokes, but that’s his personal choice.

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Next, he said it was a “stage play”.

I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination, a roast can be called a “stage play”, but I will construe that he meant to ask whether AIB obtained the necessary permits. For this, he should probably speak to Culture Minister of Maharashtra Mr Vinod Tawde who has rightly begun a probe into this aspect, while promising he won’t get into “moral policing”.

Mr Pandit also made this rather amusing point, where he tried to allude that because an organization has a slang word in its name.

By this logic member of the Assamese community “Chutia” should never be given driving licenses. On a serious note, the matter of Police Permission will also be probably covered by the probe ordered by Mr Tawde.

And finally comes the pièce de résistance, a classic case of poor sentence construction, mixed with improper punctuation topped off with mind-numbing logic.

To give the benefit of doubt to Mr Pandit, he probably meant to use a comma after the word “sex” and before “to”. That would mean, Ashoke Pandit, was rather offended that Karan Johar showed his sexual preferences to his mother, in “public”. I wonder if an auditorium is “public” since the audience came to the show of their own volition. Some may argue that the video is on Youtube and hence it is “public”, which may seem the case if Section 294 of the IPC is taken literally, but I doubt any court in the country would call it “public” since the viewer has the right to not view it. Nothing is thrust on you. (Also I am pretty sure Section 294 or Section 66A of the IT Act can be used against Mr Pandit’s above tweet too)

Some will also say it is Mr Ashoke Pandit’s “Freedom of Expression” to criticize an event, and I fully agree with them. The only reason why I am worried is this gentleman is a member of our Censor Board. Will his personal views get translated into Censor board actions? Will any movie making use of cuss-words and some lewd actions be labelled a “Porn movie”? Will Censor board be reduced to the idiots who have filed cases against AIB trying to misuse Section 294 to continue their Moral Policing?

Morals are a very subjective and personal concept. What maybe moral to me may be immoral to someone else. The Censor board, in such a scenario, should take a balanced stance. We don’t need preachers or priests in the Censor board, to uphold whatever their idea of “Indian Culture” is, but we need artists, who can understand what another artist is trying to convey.  The board must respect the Freedom of Expression of an artist, and must allow it within the realms of the law. Wherever there is a law (like Section 294) which can be misused, the Censor board should take a progressive stance. We don’t need shackles, just guidelines. In the current context, We at OpIndia.com hope that the court does call up AIB and once and for all lays down some guidelines as to what can be said and what cannot be said in public. Till then, if you don’t like something being said, just don’t watch it!

co-founder, OpIndia.com

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