How Hitchcock altered ideas on Censorship
For the past few days, the movie Udta Punjab produced by Anurag Kashyap is trending for the reason that it is being demanded to make unreasonable cuts by the censor board. Well, Mr. Kashyap said it is his fight and he would fight for it. I sincerely hope he wins. In this week’s Friday Fundas, I would like to highlight how the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock had constantly challenged the censor board in many ridiculous ways, broke many of their rules and in effect changed the idea of Censorship.
Out of the many instances, two of Hitchcock’s movies are still very popular for the kind of controversies they evoked with the Censorship. Notorious released in 1946 starred Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. The signature scene in the movie is the kissing scene between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Hitchcock wanted to shoot a two and half minute kissing scene. But the censor board at that time allowed only three seconds long kissing scene. In order to achieve what he wanted, he had interrupted the scene every three seconds to pass the movie through the three-second rule in the production code.
The movie Psycho which he had made in 1960 evoked more controversies right from the production stage. You could watch the movie Hitchcock or read the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho” written by Stephen Rebello to learn more about it. Out of the many controversial scenes, there was a scene in which the toilet is shown with visible notes being flushed. Till that date, none of the movies had shown a toilet in the movie and censor board initially rejected it and eventually had to give in as there was hardly any logic behind it. The shower scene is the money shot for the movie. Hitchcock knew he would be ridiculed by the censor board. So he had deliberately made it more violent so that he had negotiated with the board to arrive at the output he wanted. The board also had objection over the opening scene of the movie. He negotiated with them that he would change the scene and reshoot it provided they allow him to keep the shower scene. He also had said he would reshoot with the censor board members on the set under their advice. As they did not turn up for the reshoot the scene remained.
Post the release of Psycho the censor board was never the same again. The movie relaxed many of the censorship rules giving more freedom to the filmmakers.
Hope you liked this article. Leave your comments and thoughts below. In case you are interested, you can read more articles from Friday Fundas section.