BosNewsLife (05/04/06) India ‘s Central Board for Film Certification has condemned advertisements for a film perceived as anti-Catholic and, in a boost for the Christian minority, the first ever Jesus Music Video in the Bengali language was to be released shortly.
In a statement monitored by BosNewsLife Thursday, May 4, the Central Board threatened to withdraw the ‘A’ certification issued to the film ‘Tickle My Funny Bone’ if the producer fails to issue an apology for posters of the film showing a partly unclad woman with the catch line ‘Story of a Bold, Sexy and Naughty Nun’.
The ‘A’ certification, meaning ‘Adult’, is given to films that can be viewed only by those above the age of 18. Without a certificate the film could be banned from cinemas.
Members of India ‘s Christian community have objected to the film, which was produced in ‘Hinglish’, combining Hindi and English in sentences. In a petition against the movie to be considered by the Bombay High Court next week, Advocate Gerry Coelho, reportedly said it “ridicules the Roman Catholic faith.”
Censor Board officials said the producer has been asked to submit an apology to the board in writing as well as publicize in newspapers that the posters promoting the film were “misleading and that the Censor Board has not certified it as it has been projected,” The Times of India newspaper said.
It comes as Christians, who have complained about persecution by Hindu militants in several regions, try to spread the positive aspects of the Christian faith in their first ever Music Video on Jesus in the Bengali language which is spoken by an estimated 175 million people in India and neighboring Bangladesh .
The video was to be released Tuesday, March 9, at Don Bosco School Park Circus marking the 145th birth anniversary of Bengal s poet laureate Rabrindranath Tagore, Christian leaders involved in the project told the BosNewsLife New Delhi Bureau in a statement.
“We consider this one hour video portrayal of Jesus life in Bengali folk music as a humble contribution to the rich cultural heritage of Bengal,” said the director of social communications for the archdiocese of Calcutta , Salesian Fr Robin Gomes who is presenter in the film.
Bangal an area mainly divided between the independent nation of Bangladesh and the Indian federal republic’s constitutive state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous kingdom of Bengal are now part of the neighboring Indian states of Bihar , Tripura and Orissa.
Producers said the movie “could prove an ideal medium to present the life and message of Jesus” to the millions of Bengali language speakers in the region.
An inter-faith gathering of Christians and well-wishers of other faiths are to join bishops of Bengal from both Catholic and Church of North India denominations for next week’s premiere where the entire crew of both the audio and video production will be honored, organizers said.
“Based on [artist] Nitika Don Boscos Millennium double album audio cassette Manobtrata Jisu (Jesus the Savior) the film narrates the entire life of Jesus from birth, life at Nazareth, baptism, public life, miracles, teaching, last supper, crucifixion, death and resurrection,” the film makers said.
Shot on what producers call “exotic and picturesque locations,” the film claims to be a “visual meditation”, and is offered for a subsidized price of 60 India Rupees (1.3 USD). It was not immediately clear how many videos were expected to be sold in India , a pre-dominantly Hindu nation where Christians comprise just roughly Christian 2.3 percent of the country’s nearly 1.1 billion people, according to estimates.