We’ve been having some pretty fantastic rain here lately, starting around 17:00 each day and lasting several hours, knocking out the electricity and cable here at the hotel at least 3-4 times per night. So yesterday when I turned on Superbad — a Hollywood comedy about the last days of high school — I simply thought it was the storm interfering with the cable when I heard the audio dropping off every couple seconds. After a few REALLY annoying minutes…I mean, how can you watch a ‘heavy dialogue’ film that cuts out every couple of seconds…it occurred to me that it wasn’t the cable at all. It was censorship.
Okay, admittedly, dead silence is a much nicer way to cover up foul language that the old school BEEP. And having to flip the channel away from Superbad was not a huge tragedy, and I had seen it before. Plus it was literally impossible to follow a movie that used foul language almost as a character in the film when it went silent so much. No fun at all. But censoring foul language is just the tip of the iceberg here.
Indian values are much more conservative and traditional than what I am accustomed to from either Spain or So Cal — and for lack of a better term, for me, they are old-fashioned. But here this is the way of life, they work and I respect that very much. In a nutshell (in relation to today’s topic), it is inappropriate for a man and woman to touch in public, and it is definitely out of the question to kiss in public. In fact, on a personal note, I keep having to consciously remind myself not to touch my work mates on the arm like I am accustomed to doing from time to time during a conversation. Well, it’s sort of okay for me to touch another women but definitely not a man and, even more so, definitely NOT a married man. This is a major boo boo that could affect how some people view me.
Yet with all that said, I am pretty surprised to see that even HBO is highly censored here. Maybe it is just HBO at hotels but in the U.S., Europe and other places hotels show adult content all day (such as the latest show of Annie Mae live on webcam) as well so I doubt that this is a special HBO. Foul language is not the only thing censored, which I do understand is essential for younger viewers or for time slots earlier in the night. The government board also cuts out every single second of film that includes inappropriate contact between a man and woman, including every kiss and sensual touch — even when it is relevant and important to the storyline. I can tell you first hand that watching Dirty Dancing just wasn’t the same without the first kiss scene….they just cut it out, so unless you have seen the original you don’t quite understand why the dad becomes so angered later in the film!!
But not everything is censored. In fact, from what I have seen, the violence in films is left in, although I assume that sexual violence would be censored. This means that amazing films like The Accused with Jodie Foster, in which she won the Academy Award for best actress for her part as a rape victim, would never be appreciated here in India. And of course forget about nudity. Even on HBO from what I’ve seen so far. Hmmm, I wonder what an episode of Sex and The City looks like here?? I imagine that Samantha and the fireman didn’t get it on here in India 😉
I am curious if the movie theaters censor the films too, I will have to check it out this week.
As for me, there is nothing funny or new to report on here except that my cough is almost gone finally after 6+ weeks of being sick, woo hoo! OH and my Sumo belly is going down thanks to the veggie salad diet…pheewww! I am going to ask the hotel to pack my lunch for tomorrow or I will end up eating either a big plate of YUMMY curry and rice or be forced to order from Dominos, hahahaha! Hmm, I can’t wait to move into our new apartment next week and have a kitchen again. And someone to help around the house and cook so I can try all of the amazing Indian dishes here…just with less chilis and spicy spices 🙂
XOXO from Bangalore
© Angela Carson, Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011