U/A rating for Jungle Book? Nihalani may be right on this one (for once)

We at OpIndia.com are no fans of Pahlaj Nihalani. Around this time last year, we argued strongly why he must be sacked as the censor board chief. We even started a petition to help him on his way out. But he’s still here. In fact, we are against the concept of a Censor board, and would prefer a true-blue certification board, which only certifies movies and lets the audience choose what they want to see.

One such certification has brought Pahlaj Nihalani and the censor board back in the news. An adaptation of the children’s classic “Jungle Book” is set to hit the screens this weekend. And Nihalani’s censor board has given this apparently “children’s” movie, a U/A rating. This means that children will be able to watch the film only under adult supervision. To justify the decision, Nihalani has said:

“Please don’t go by the reputation of the book. See the film and then decide on the suitability of the content for kids. The 3D effects are so scary that the animals seem to jump right at the audience. It’s not just the story that determines certification. It’s the overall presentation, the packaging and most important of all, the visual affects used to tell the story. In Jungle Book the jungle animals jumping at the audience in 3D is startling. It’s up to parents to decide how much of these effects are suited for their children.”

Naturally, he got a lot of flak online for giving a U/A rating to what is being perceived to be a kid’s film. There were articles written too mocking his perceptions. The film’s music composer Vishal Bhardwaj is not too happy with CBFC’s move.

“I have seen the film. There is nothing in the film, which asks for ‘U/A’ certificate. It is such a beautiful film. There is nothing in film, which will scare the kids, but let’s just accept the fact these are the times when The Jungle Book is given UA Certificate”

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Granted, India’s censor system is pathetic. But then modern countries like USA and Singapore probably have much sounder systems in place? If that is the case, why has the Motion Picture Association of America given the movie a PG rating?

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The British Board of Film Classification too has similar views:

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So also, Singapore’s Media Development Authority feels that the movie deserves PG rating:

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So has Modi appointed incompetent stooges in 3 premier movie rating agencies in 3 highly developed countries of the world, and hence all three countries have given a PG (Parental Guidance) rating to the movie, which is more or less similar to India’s U/A rating, which denotes “Unrestricted Public Exhibition – but with a word of caution that Parental discretion required for children below 12 years”?

In fact MPAA even uses the same word “scary” used by Pahlaj Nihalani. The movie has not yet released, but when 4 agencies worldwide have similar views, surely there may be some sense in what the claim? The movie boasts of stunning 3D and lifelike animation, coupled with ferocious wild animals and even some fight sequences. Clearly there is enough scope for the movie to get a bit intimidating for the young kids.

Social media outrage can be premature, and there are far too many issues on which one can claim Pahlaj Nihalani is on the wrong side, but on this occasion, he just may be right.

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