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The much-criticised Censor Board Of Film Certification (CBFC), long condemned for kow-towing to conservative elements has not only passed the controversial film Ya Rab with minimum cuts, the hard-hitting film was also praised by the censor board for its message on religious fundamentalism.

The censorial spurt of liberalism for a film depicting the pitfalls of rabid radicalism comes amidst a flurry of violent protest against the film by a section of religious fundamentalists who claim the film depicts their religion wrongly.

Protests director Hasnain Hyderabadwala, "How do they know what I've shown in the film? No one has seen a single frame. I am arguing for peace, and the danger of losing our identity in pursuit of violent radicalism. If my film was showing anything wrong would someone of Mahesh Bhatt Saab's stature support it? And would the censor board risk the anger of the offended if there was anything offensive in the film?"

The Censor Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) has taken a liberal view of matters pertaining to religious fundamentalism. While earlier films on the subject like Deepa Mehta 1947 Earth and John Mathew Mathan's Sarfarosh have had to face censorial objections, Hasnain Hyderabadwala's Ya Rab has been given an all-clear by the CBFC and that too with a 'UA' certificate, thereby allowing children access to a film that depicts religious segregation and cultural isolation.

While initially the censor board objected to some of the film's hard-hitting content, when Ya Rab was screened for the Tribunal of the CBFC, they passed the film with a 'UA' certificate commenting, "This is a thought-provoking movie which condemns fundamentalism in the strongest terms and exposes self-styled religious leaders who owe allegiance to foreign powers. The Tribunal is of the view that such films must be shown to younger age-groups."

Commenting on the more liberal attitude adopted by the censor board, a source close to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting says, "We had been getting too many complaints and litigation regarding discrepancies on the censorship policies. We are trying to cement the breach of trust. Films with sexual and religious content have to be viewed more liberally. Albeit sensitively."

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