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Can Indians handle 'bold' films?

Press Trust Of India
Jul 21, 2006 at 12:27pm IST

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New Delhi: The directors of the Bengali film Teen Yaari Katha (Tale of Three Friends), which has been held up by the censors for certain sexually explicit scenes, say it is time Indian audiences were treated as adults capable of accepting movies with mature themes.

The censor board is yet to certify the film despite having seen it three times, and has asked for major cuts. The directors, Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha, resent any move to delete any portions of the film, saying that would "destroy" its spirit.

"The film is a celebration of youth. I don't know why such a hue and cry is being made. They have an issue with one scene where the actors are shown with a porn magazine. Don't all of us do such things in our youth? I think it is time we treat adult Indians like adults," said Roy, the more vociferous of the two, after the premiere of the film at the Osian film festival here.

CINEMATICALLY MATURE? Teen Yaari Katha was premiered at the Osian film festival.

"My son, who is in Class 10, has done the subtitles of the film. Well, if a 15-year-old can work on this film, then people older than him can at least watch it," she said.

The film revolves around three friends - young men interested in love, women, sex and other "normal" things of life. Nursing their fancies and ambitions of falling in love, getting married and settling down, the three are bonded together by their selfless love for each other.

Guha disagrees with the objections raised by the censors. "Our film epitomises modern India, where progress and poverty, sex and morality, love and hatred go hand in hand," he said.

Guha, who said the directors sought an adults-only certificate for Teen Yaari Katha, has no qualms in admitting that the movie was never meant to be a "universal" film.

"They (the censors) want to see everything as black and white. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There are grey shades too. Ours is not a family film. The film talks about different aspects of the youth and so the target audience is also the youth."

The movie, which is vying for honours in Osian's competition section for Indian films this year, is the second film directed by Guha and Roy.

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They had earlier assisted renowned Bengali director Rituparno Ghosh before venturing out on their own, and have been working together for the past 12 years.

Having completed 1,000 hours of television programming, in Bengali fiction and non-fiction, they branched out into films in 2004 with Only You that had Tollywood star Prasenjit in the lead.

"Our maiden venture was a romantic, a Mills and Boon kind of a film. 'Teen Yaari Katha' is drastically different. We do not want to get stuck with one particular genre," said Guha.

Guha and Roy, who have "tremendous fights" and experience "major highs and lows just as in a marriage" while directing a film, are open to helming a typical Bollywood commercial potboiler some day.

"We want to keep making good, contemporary cinema, something that makes people think," said Guha.

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