Prominent Indian Documentary Maker Finds Films Banned at Home

Indian officials aren't very open to criticism


Indian filmmaker Ashvin Kumar is in a curious position. His documentary, Inshallah Kashmir, recently won this year's India's National Award for "Best Investigative Film". Kumar also won the 2012 National Award for "Best Film on Social Issues", for his documentary Inshallah Football. Despite the press and adulation he has received, Kumar is still struggling to have his films screened on TV. Even the public service broadcaster refuses to air his films as they have received an "A" (Adult) certificate — a "polite" form of censorship, as Kumar told Index. …

When Kumar applied to the Censor Board to approve Inshallah Football in 2010, his application got rejected outright, despite an early indication that he would get approval. This, after he had been assured by the Board that certification was only a formality at this point. In 2011, the Censor Board eventually awarded Kumar's film Adult (A) certification. Confused, Kumar filed a RTI (Right to Information) request and was told that the Board felt the characters were not authentic. The board also felt Kumar's film was too critical of the government.