Farhan Akhtar tweeted the Censor Board's letter for us to read and weep:
Prakash Jha told Mumbai Mirror, "As a country we must encourage freedom of expression but the CBFC refusing to certify films that tell uncomfortable stories discourages filmmakers from pushing the envelope. Films should challenge the status quo which is what Lipstick Under My Burkha perhaps does and I believe our audience deserve to watch it."
Director Alankrita Shrivastava told news agency IANS, "I am not defeated, disheartened or disillusioned by the CBFC's refusal to certify Lipstick Under My Burkha. I am more determined than ever before to ensure that Lipstick Under My Burkha can be watched by Indian audiences. I will fight this out till the very end, and do whatever it takes because this is not about my film. The real issue is the systematic suppression of women's voices and the throttling of freedom of expression. I will refuse to succumb. In a country where there is so much discrimination against women, so much violence against women, isn't it essential to listen to women's stories from their point of view? I believe the decision to refuse certification to our film is an assault on women's rights."
Masaan director Neeraj Ghaywan tweeted:
Actor Shashank Arora, who stars in the film, said:
This is the third time you are messing with my job dear censor board. What freedom of speech do you go on about? https://t.co/jpgMg8AaKw? Shashank Arora (@ShashankSArora) February 23, 2017
The Censor Board, and particularly chief Censor Pahlaj Nihalani, is frequently criticized for moral policing the films they are supposed to certify. The Board circulated a list of cuss words that they decided should not be included in films - a list it was forced to retract after opposition both internal and external. Mr Jha's last film, Jai Gangaajal starring Priyanka Chopra, contained Hindi abuses which the Censor Board ordered deleted last year. The film was then sent to the Apellate Tribunal.
Udta Punjab, NH 10 and several other films have been snipped by the Board, which is often accused of taking censorship to extreme levels. In 2015, it was widely ridiculed on social media by ordering kissing scenes dropped from the James Bond film S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
Lipstick Under My Burkha has already made the rounds of the film festival circuit. The makers have announced their intention to appeal against the Censor Board's decision.
(With IANS inputs)