Even as many filmmakers feel the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has become more strict about content, critically acclaimed director Dibakar Banerjee begs to differ. He says the board has now adopted a more liberal attitude.
"I don't think the censor board or the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has become tougher. I have seen them becoming more liberal," Banerjee told IANS on the sidelines of the ongoing 12th Osian's-Cinefan Film Festival.
Lately, the censor board has been especially particular about letting explicit, intimate, abusive and titillating content make it to the big screen - either as part of a sequence in a film or even as part of a movie trailer.
Banerjee says his last film "Shanghai" was passed without any cuts, except "just a voluntary cut."
But what troubles the 43-year-old are the motives of several public activists, who try to impose self-censorship prior to any film's release.
"I don't think censors are censoring films as much as the other public activists' self-appointed censorship. It's our own society and we are proscribing ourselves.
"I don't think we could lay the blame on the government's role and absolve ourselves from being conservative, reactionary and fearful of our own descent," he added.
The filmmaker made his Bollywood debut with 2006 film "Khosla Ka Ghosla" and has gone on to make intense films like "Oye Lucky Lucky Oye", "Love Sex Aur Dhoka", and most recently "Shanghai".
Asked if this was planned or it just happened, Banerjee said: "It depends on your own personal growth or personal decline, whichever way you want to take it. Nothing was planned."
"In fact, when 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' came out, a lot of people said that it is very refreshing and intense; a lot of people also said that they enjoyed it, though it was not light comedy at all.
" 'Oye Lucky...' was darker, 'Love Sex Dhoka' was even darker. I would agree, somewhere compromises are getting lesser and lesser, but at the same time the pressure to deliver a bigger project started building up. So it's the fight between two impulses," he added.
Banerjee admits his films don't cause a flutter at the box office, but says he feels content with audience reactions.
"I have tried to construct whatever I can out of personal experience. My kind of films never set the box-office on fire. They recover money and prosper.
"When people come to me and say they have liked my film or they have understood my film, I feel less lonely and less scared because being at odds can be a scary situation.
"People make films to make money and be famous, and I am no different. I want to be different, but there is something that needs to be derived by making films like 'Shanghai' or 'LSD'," he added.
After "Shanghai", Banerjee revealed he is working on two scripts, one of them a detective thriller.
"One of them is fully finished. It is a story from a 16-year-old's point of view. It is a detective thriller set in Calcutta of the 1940s. It is a romantic and period detective film.
"My second script is on violence. I have always been interested in violence and from 'LSD' to 'Shanghai', I am getting deeper into violence," he said.
By Priyanka Sharma New Delhi, Aug 3 (Agency)