Why ‘Bombay’ in ‘Bombay Velvet’ can be retained


After the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) beeped out the word ‘Bombay’ from a new song sung by Mihir Joshi, one wonders if filmmaker Anurag Kashyap will be asked to change the title of his film “Bombay Velvet”. But Pahlaj Nihalani, chairperson of the censorship body, has some good news for Kashyap.

“If a film is a period drama, if it is set during a time when Mumbai was called Bombay then we may consider retaining the old name for the city. However, in the contemporary context, ‘Bombay’ won’t be allowed at all,” Nihalani said.

One question that is disturbing the Mumbai film industry is, how far would the CBFC go in altering the city’s name in the popular arts to go by the name that Bombay got when the city’s name was officially changed to ‘Mumbai’ in 1995?

Clearly, as far as the use of the word ‘Bombay’ is concerned, the CBFC is very clear on the issue.

“This is a state matter. The Maharashtra government officially changed the name of ‘Bombay’ to ‘Mumbai’ in 1995. And still, if filmmakers and song writers continue to use the unconstitutional name for the city, we’ve no choice but to delete it.

“The city is called Mumbai, not Bombay. People like Mihir Joshi who have probably grown up in the city should know this. Making films and writing songs are a social responsibility. You can’t change geography and history just to sound trendy,” Nihalani said.

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