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Singer hits back at CBFC; seeks explanation on ‘Bombay’ bleep
MUMBAI: Just emerging out of one controversy, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is embroiled in another controversy soon enough, for its alleged problem with the word ‘Bombay’. The one facing the brunt, singer Mihir Joshi will not take it lying down.
It was in May 2014 that former RJ and singer Mihir Joshi released his first album ‘Mumbai Blues’ with music label Times Music. The videos of the track including ‘Sorry’ were on digital platforms like YouTube and all seemed hunky dory. That is, until the problems started around two months ago.
“For whatever reasons, it got delayed instead of playing immediately after the release. Finally, when the songs came back to the label, it stated that the word ‘Bombay’ is unacceptable and you have to mute the word to attain the certificate. I told my label to just go ahead with it so that at least the song can start playing on TV,” recounts Joshi to TelevisionPost.com.
The song in contention, for which the CBFC wanted ‘Bombay’ removed was the very track ‘Sorry’ that was streaming on YouTube for the past eight months.
On 5 December, Neelima Naik and Deepak Ramakant Tandel of the song review committee cleared the video on condition that Bombay, mentioned once early in the song, be muted.
Explaining his emotional dilemma behind agreeing to remove the word as per the CBFC request, Joshi says that the essence of the song is about a father-daughter relationship and he apologising for whatever is happening in the country in the name of women safety. The word ‘Bombay’ falls into the song only because the end of the first line rhymes with Bombay.
The lyric goes, “I’m sorry sweetheart, this is the world I am giving you today, It’s the same thing no matter what you read…from Delhi to Bombay, I wish it was different darling…wish you could feel nice and safe, But the world’s gone crazy, I don’t know what to say…”
However, while Joshi agreed to the demand unknowingly, he realised the effect of it only later when his track played out on Pepsi MTV Indies with the word ‘Bombay’ bleeped out and the vocals edited. Friends and fans contacted him over the folly as there was a blank after the word Delhi in the track, and it was with their support that Joshi has now hit back at the censor board demanding an explanation over what the problem is with the word Bombay.
“I have nothing against Mumbai, I love Mumbai and Bombay. I am a Maharashtrian. My album is also called ‘Mumbai Blues’. I am just asking what the problem with the word ‘Bombay’ is, what is wrong in using it? How is it offensive or who have I insulted that the word needed to be deleted? We petition it and demand a legitimate explanation over the decision taken by the CBFC,” he vents out.
A number of senior artists too supported Joshi and asked him not to take it lying down and let someone dictate what the song should sound like when there is nothing offensive in it.
While some people think of it as a public stunt to garner eyeballs around his first album, Joshi dispels it all by saying that if he wanted to do something like that, he would have done it when the album released eight months ago.
“I just reacted because I found the entire idea of deleting and bleeping out the word crazy. I have not spoken anything political or done any campaigning asking people to support my cause,” he stated.
The only resolution now going ahead is that the label is trying to get in touch with the CBFC to figure out what their explanation is to their demand. The CBFC has not responded to the label’s query yet and was unavailable for comment at the time of filing this report.
However, Joshi said that apparently the censor board has told some news channels that they don’t have a problem with the word ‘Bombay’, further deepening the controversy.