Film on Rowdy Cousins Suffers 103 Cuts

Feature on two criminals gets its makers into serious censor trouble. Director Mohan Gowda, related to the men who allegedly killed politicians BEML Krishnappa and Balekaimandi Basavaiah, had used real-life names

Published: 20th June 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2015 11:27 PM   |  A+A-


QUEEN’S ROAD:A film director had to pay dearly for choosing rowdy cousins, Bettanagere Seena and Shankara, as subjects for his film —  with Rs 4 lakh and 103 cuts.

The changes began with the title, director Mohan Gowda B G told City Express. The film was to be titled Bettanagere Seena. “We had to change it to Bettanagere,” Gowda said.

The character Seena is now called Shiva and Shankara gets the name of Shekara. The names had to be changed on about 40 occasions. “They asked me to change the name of the place (Nelamangala). The lyrics of a song (Bandi bandi jaaro bandi) by Nagendra Prasad had to be re-written entirely as the Censor Board felt it referred to a woman’s body and was not in good taste,” he explained.

The 150-minute film has now been reduced to 125 minutes. “We didn’t re-shoot, but spent a lot of money and time. The changes were mostly made at the dubbing studio and cost around Rs 4 lakh,” he said. “We are now looking forward to release the film sometime in July.”

The Censor Board watched the film four times and took one-and-half-months to hand it a U/A certificate earlier this week. Gowda claims the board has projected the subject of the film as ‘controversial and messy’.

“The film has not lost its cinematic presence but somewhere the originality has been affected,” he said. “They (the board) had received letters asking to ban the film, and some were ready to file cases.”

Gowda said that he hasn’t flouted the censor rules in any way, other than using the characters’ real names. “I was presenting the story of my brothers, Seena and Shankara. Since, I had seen them up close, I thought I had the right to use their names. But the board said I had to maintain professionalism if wanted to release this film,” he explained.

His brothers’ notorious activities kept Gowda away from home, and he worked with director S Narayan for a long time before he turned an independent director. But he has tried to give his audience an honest account of his brothers’ lives, he said. “People call us a ‘rowdy family’. Nobody has understood the family’s difficulties or the pain I went through making the film. I have lost my first brother, Seena, and we don’t know the whereabouts of Shankara, who has been released from jail. We still jump out of our skins when we receive a call after 10 pm. This is what my film depicts.”

Censor take

Directors make a film saying

it is fictional, but use real-life names. So we have to revisit the film over and over again. In this film, we suggested a few visual cuts, but most changes were to do with names and places. Even though the director is a family member, he should have known that he can’t use original names. The more the cuts, the more the work for me. Even Ring Road Shubha, which is now titled Ring Road Suma, faced cuts for the same reason. Filmmakers will have to face legal consequences if they use real-life names.

 N Nagendra Regional head, Censor Board

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