Indian censors have muted the word ‘lesbian’ in the film Dum Laga Ke Haisha released on Friday (27 February), sparking cries of homophobia.
The word was supposed to be said in a court scene where a young boy asks, ‘Mummy, is older sister turning into a lesbian?’
But the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) ruled that it was ‘not appropriate’ for a child say lesbian and muted the word, as well as deleting four Hindi words.
The latest controversy comes weeks after the CBFC released a list of 28 banned swear words, which has been since put on hold.
Director Sharat Katariya said he was amused when censors first objected to the word lesbian and asked, ‘You said you are removing gaalis (swear words) but lesbian is not a gaali, why are you removing it?’
‘So they said the fact that a little kid mouths it, it is not appropriate. And they didn’t find it (the context the word was being used) humorous. But otherwise “lesbian” word can be used. I didn’t argue too much as there wasn’t much scope anyways,’ he told The Quint.
Director and censorship board member Ashoke Pandit condemned the decision as ‘shameful’ on Twitter with the hashtag ‘freedom of expression.’
‘This entire thing makes no sense. To mute the word ‘lesbian’ as though it is a swear word is to disrespect the feelings of the entire LGBT community,’ he told the Huffington Post.