CBFC’s Mission Impossible: Keeping Kashmir and Politics Away From Films

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CBFC’s Mission Impossible: Keeping Kashmir and Politics Away From Films

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

T

om Cruise does many incredible things in the latest instalment of his blockbuster franchise, Mission Impossible: Fallout. He skydives into Paris and pilots a burning helicopter over the Himalayas. But the one thing agent Ethan Hunt is incapable of, is uttering the word “Kashmir”, at least as far as the Indian audience is concerned. In a film full of death-defying stunts and jaw-dropping set pieces, the biggest talking point for us will be the omission of a scene that mentions Hunt’s Impossible Mission Force is heading to the conflicted Indian state.

A few days before the film released, reports surfaced that CBFC had cut an expository scene where our heroes are chasing an international terrorist to Kashmir. He plans to detonate two nuclear bombs at the Siachen glacier, irradiating the rivers of three countries, India, Pakistan, and China. The overblown doomsday scenario plot is typical of the stakes in the MI franchise, and has very little connection to real-world politics, as befits a film where Simon Pegg dons a rubber mask to impersonate CNN host Wolf Blitzer. MI films always promise a thrilling break from reality, and addressing geopolitical issues has never been the series’ selling point.

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