chapter  14
14 Pages

Film censorship in India: Deconstructing an incongruity

WithSomeswar Bhowmik

A political dispatch, dated 1 June 1922, from Lord Reading, then Viceroy and Governor-General of India, to then Secretary of State for India Viscount Peel, read: ‘The object of censorship is not merely to prevent the exhibition of obscene films but also of films that are politically objectionable.’1 While Lord Reading was referring to the system of film censorship that had become operational from 1 August 1920, the tone of his assertion betrays a ploy of camouflaging ‘for tactical and other reasons.’2 Such camouflaging continues to characterize India’s film censorship system even ninety years after Lord Reading wrote those words.