Crank’s News: Censors watch Enthiran with eyes & ears closed

It was just like watching a Maniratnam movie, they say

Unknown Location: Even as the extraordinary hype over Enthiran’s release rises over Tamilnadu as a clear-cut weather pattern identifiable enough in satellite images, comes the revelation that the Censor Board officials watched the movie with their eyes blindfolded and ears fully cottoned in deference to director Shankar’s reasonable demand to ensure total secrecy over the contents of the film.

Shankar, it is well known in film circles in Tamilnadu, keeps the all the details of his movies under total wraps. He and his trusted team ensure this sometimes even after his film’s release. For instance, several years after the release of his film Jeans, nobody knows what its story is.

Enthiran, starring Rajnikanth in the scientifically challenging role of a robot, and the scientifically-challenged Aishwarya Rai in a typical robotic role, went to the Censors a couple of weeks ago and was stamped with the ‘U’ certificate.

Sources in the Censor Board’s office today told Crank’s News that the film’s director had formally requested the members who sat for the screening to ensure total secrecy and desist from making any comments on the movie after the screening. ‘But we made it clear to him that we are an autonomous body and cannot give any commitment to anyone,’ a senior official of the Board said. ‘We also unequivocally conveyed the idea that the responsibility of keeping us silent was the director’s’

Faced with such a situation, Shankar’s initial reaction was to genetically clone all the censor board officials and make the new beings to sit for the screening. ‘For a film on a human-like robot, it would have been appropriate too,’ sources in Shankar camp said. He and his team immediately hopped on a plane, which is generally kept waiting with its engines on whenever he directs a movie, and departed on a world tour to find the scientists.

However, there was a major hitch over finding the scientists to get down to work on genetic cloning on a mass scale. It is said that all the major scientists have quit the profession and become bar tenders ever since they came to know that Rajnikanth had been cast as a scientist.

‘Shankar sir was even ready for the eventuality of cloning the scientists themselves too. We were also ready for any delay on account of that, which surely would not have been longer than the time A R Rahman takes to deliver his music,’ an assistant to Shankar said.

But since the producers insisted on releasing the film in their life time itself, Shankar and his team decided to demand that the Censor Boards officials totally blanketed their eyes and ears. ‘We wanted to stuff their noses too so that they did not smell anything at all. But they, in typical bureaucratic fashion, pointed to some arcane sections of IPC, 302 to be precise, that apparently precludes thorough closing of anyone’s nose. Well, this was murder of creativity. We artistic people have to put up with many hardships and this was one of them,’ Shankar’s assistant added.

Anyway, the Censor Board officials sat through the screening with their ears and eyes fully covered. ‘It wasn’t difficult. In fact, it was just like watching a Maniratnam movie. Total darkness and the dialogues totally inaudible,’ a senior Censor Board official confessed.

At any rate, he added, if you are going to watch the film in the theatres on the first few days of its release, nothing is going to be visible at all, what with the prospect of fans throwing papers all over and whistling non-stop.

The Censor Board officials said: ‘Come to think of it, ears and eyes closed may be the best way to watch the Tamil movies these days’.

We just checked with the Enthiran team whether they had filmed the movie at Madurai. In our reckoning, any Tamil movie not shot in Madurai is good enough for Universal viewing, the official added.

Shankar and his team obviously did not crank the film in Madurai due to the technical reason that the temple town is situated nearby. If ever Shankar decides to stop directing films, Thomas Cook will have to close down.

Meanwhile, it has also been learnt that the operator in charge of the projector during the screening for the Censors has also been kept under detention so that he doesn’t spill out the specifics of the movie. The projector operator has been taken to Guantanamo Bay, even though Guantanamo Bay could have been recreated through a ‘set’ here in Puzhal.

Like in his movies, Shankar seems to have opted for a ‘grand’ scale in reality too, especially since the producer was footing the bill for this too, and flew the projector operator and the entire crew of Enthiran to Guantanamo Bay. The crew, it is expected, will film the operator cooling his heels in a lonely cell. The clippings will be telecast exclusively on TV for several weeks.

(Disclaimer: No hard feelings)