The head of India’s censors board has denied it refused to classify the gay coming out film, Love, Simon.
Last week, it was reported that the release of Love, Simon had been ‘indefinitely delayed’ in India.
This prompted a swift social media backlash. The hashtags #ReleaseLoveSimoninIndia and #LoveSimon soon trended on Twitter.
Some people even started online petitions for the ‘important’ film to be shown in India.
Film goers first noticed the film had disappeared from cinema session times when they tried to book tickets just days before its 1 June release.
Many questioned if the India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had delayed the release of the film to review its gay content.
Gay sex is banned under Section 377 of Indian Penal Code. LGBTI issues remain taboo and are not often covered in mainstream media.
Love, Simon’s classification
But the head of CBFC told Gay Star News it had given a classification to the film in February. But it has not yet informed GSN what classification it gave Love, Simon.
‘CBFC has certified the film four months ago on 6th feb 2018 (sic),’ said CBFC’s chairperson, Prasoon Joshi.
‘The release date, or delays queries need to be addressed to the Studio / Producers.
‘It’s truly sad when unnecessary controversy is created regarding CBFC.
The CBFC has come under fire before for refusing to classify films with LGBTI content or banning them altogether.
For more than a year filmmaker Jayan Cherian has battled for the CBFC to classify his gay love story film, Ka Bodyscapes.
The LGBTI community also accused the CBFC of over-censoring the Oscar winning movie, Moonlight, to the point where the film lost its original meaning.
In 2015, the CBFC banned the lesbian film, Unfreedom, because it thought the film would ‘ignite unnatural passions’ in viewers.
Gay Star News has reached out to the film’s producers to find about Love, Simon’s fate in India.