Indian Censors Say No To “Condom” and Yes to Sex

This isn’t about atheism, but it is about unnecessary censorship. Which you know you care about.

If you’ve ever seen an Indian movie, you know there isn’t much in the way of sex scenes. Suggestive looks and flirtation, yes. But you will rarely see even a kiss in a Bollywood film.

So it’s a bit risqué that there is a makeout scene in the new movie Hello featuring former Miss India and Maxim model Gul Panag.

Of course, this is leading to a controversy, but not for the obvious reasons.

In the scene, Panag and actor Sharman Joshi start getting it on (in a PG-13 way, I presume). Panag’s character asks her partner if he has a condom.

The Censor Board (India’s version of the MPAA) decided that the final cut of the movie must remove the dialogue about the condom.

However, the lovemaking scene could stay in.

Wait… what?

That paradoxical move is in a country where safe sex campaigns are advertised frequently in TV and radio.

The actors don’t understand the contradiction.

Here’s Panag in an interview:

Now let’s talk about this controversial news doing the rounds since yesterday — Your beeped dialogue where you used the word ‘condom’.

I think that’s very ridiculous. It’s a very simple question I ask Sharman before we go into this lovemaking scene, ‘Do you have a condom?’ And that’s the word ‘condom’ which the censor board is going to beep out. This is when the NACO, which is the National Aids Control Organisation which runs, adverts all over the country for prevention and awareness of aids.

For family planning, we promote the use of condoms. We have ringtones that are being released by the public health department, which goes like ‘Condom condom condom…’ But when such a word is used within a film the censors have a problem. Even in my previous film ‘Manorama Six Feet Under’ there was a word ‘condom’ used which was beeped out when I tell Abhay Deol to use one. In that, it was used in the context of family planning but in ‘Hello’ it is used for safe sex. This is a continuation of India’s hypocritical standards towards such things.

Have you then filed a complaint to the censor board?

I’ve been adviced to write about it but I will send the letter post the release of Hello.

This isn’t the first time Panag has faced this issue:

Interestingly, this is not the first time a ‘condom’ dialogue has been deleted from Gul’s movie. In her last outing with Abhay Deol titled Manorama Six Feet Under, a similar dialogue was hacked by the Censor Board. “Yes, the scene had me pulling up my husband (Abhay) for not using a condom and getting me pregnant. The dialogue goes like this, ‘Agar tumne us raat condom use kiya hota, toh aaj yeh din nahin dekhne padte’ (had you used a condom that night, we wouldn’t be facing this plight). I was shocked to learn that the Censor board had objected to the dialogue,” says the actor.

An irate Gul thunders, “Don’t we all make out? Didn’t our parents have sex? If we don’t find that odd then why are we finding it odd here? Condoms promote safe sex and deleting dialogues that actually encourage people to use them during casual sex is hypocrisy.”

You would think a country facing an overpopulation crisis wouldn’t mind the word condom being uttered to a mass audience every so often…

(via Über Desi)

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Perhaps they could replace it with an amusing euphemism. “Cock cloak” or “Catholic cathador” are quite good but my favourite is “parent hood”.

    It looks like the censors got carried away and couldn’t stop in time. They are doing their jobs in removing the word “condom” and are trying to protect people from unnecessary exposure. Don’t give them too much of a ribbing.

  • Brian E

    I take it the porn industry doesn’t have much luck in India, short of the black market.

  • jacob

    That’s a good idea. She should just say “no glove no love”.

  • ObamaJamaMan

    India and China together have over 3 billion people, or almost half the entire human population on this planet.

    How long before we are living in the world of Soylent Green because of prudish fools such as what we see here?

  • Polly

    censorship?…uh yeah, bad…er um…what were we talking about?

    Maybe I’ll have something relevant to say later, once I’ve recovered the capacity for rational discourse.

    BEST.POST.EVER.

  • Larry Huffman

    I am better that the reason for this is actually quite simple. The ratings board is not tied to the government agencies that are promoting it. Rationale aside, if the old codgers on the ratings board are easily offended by condoms and if this rating board is the final say…well, there you have it. Has nothing to do with what the government should or should not be doing.

    I do not know Indian politics or anything else…but the US ratings board is not tied to the government. They act within guidelines they get from the FCC…but it is not the governments agenda they are rating for. I am sure this rating board views itself apart from the government and more as part of the film industry. They may not have any interest in what the country needs…they may simply be saying, we do not want condoms in our movies.

    I am not agreeing with the censorship…just saying that to act as though this is India somehow failing in it’s responsibilities is most likely an over-statement. It is more likely the case of prudish ratings board members. Especially when you factor in how open India seems to be about condom use otherwise.

  • http://perkyskeptic.blogspot.com/ The Perky Skeptic

    That’s funny, Indian Censors Board, because when I hear “no to condom,” I say “no” to sex!

  • Emily

    I find it both hypocritical and funny.
    Funny for they made a huge deal about a simple word and hypocritical because many ads promote condom in India. :p

  • Jen

    If I were the filmmaker (note: I did not make this film) I would come up with a viral marketing campaign that involves Panag and condoms. Maybe she would be wrapped up in one, or surrounded by them, or wearing a dress made out of the packages- but I would not let this go unnoticed. I’d throw her on some posters and maybe release the scene as “too hot for Bollywood” on youtube and really get some attention.

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/ C. L. Hanson

    So typical and so sad.

    The attitude of “Let’s not mess up this tender, romantic moment by embarrassing ourselves by openly discussing what we’re doing,” is exactly the attitude that gets a lot of young people into serious trouble. That’s what they’re promoting when they say “love scene: yes, condom? No, too shocking!”

    The word “condom” appears 26 times in the novel Exmormon. This wasn’t some deliberate attempt at pedagogy — it’s just that it’s a subject that comes up naturally in stories involving young, inexperienced people and sexuality. (Also, it’s a long book — for reference the terms “sex” and “sexuality” appear 86 times.) But even though it wasn’t deliberate pedagogy, I hope to help make some dent in the attitude that protection is too embarrassing to talk about with your (prospective) partner.

  • Raj Gwalior 91+9425116539

    I Agree thi Masseges:-The word “condom” appears 26 times in the novel Exmormon. This wasn’t some deliberate attempt at pedagogy — it’s just that it’s a subject that comes up naturally in stories involving young, inexperienced people and sexuality. (Also, it’s a long book — for reference the terms “sex” and “sexuality” appear 86 times.) But even though it wasn’t deliberate pedagogy, I hope to help make some dent in the attitude that protection is too embarrassing to talk about with your (prospective) partner.


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