Gay reference in ‘Beauty & The Beast’ banned in several countries, stays in India

Gay reference

A gay reference in the new big-screen Walt Disney version of the Beauty & The Beast fable, which has stunned many nations, has surprisingly been allowed to remain untouched in India.

The sudden appearance of a gay character in a beloved children’s fable has evoked widespread protests in many parts of the world. When the Malaysian Censor Board asked for the gay reference to be removed, Disney decided to remove the film from Malaysian theatres. In Russia, the film has been passed for adult viewing.

“In that case, we’re more liberal than the Russians,” quips Censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani, who has for long been called homophobic. “We’ve never been against homosexuality. Why should we be judgmental about sexual preferences? We’ve viewed passed many sensitive films on homosexuality like Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh and the recent Oscar winner Moonlight. It’s another matter that the Aligarh’s director chose to denigrate the Censor Board after praising us for being fair to Aligarh in our face. We understand it’s fashionable to pull down the CBFC.”

Elaborating further on the subject, Nihalani says, “We had no problem with the homosexual reference in The Beauty & The Beast. We certified the film with a ‘U/A’ and no cuts. Now, if the gay character (LeFou) was to suddenly grab another character and start making love, we may have to ask him to restrain himself. We, at the CBFC, believe there is more dignity in the implied than the applied.”

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