26 Jul – "Is "Jagat" more 'bloody' or 'violent' or 'gory' than "Kabali"?" That was the question raised by the team behind "Jagat" following the recent release of Rajinikanth-starrer, "Kabali".
The question is part of the status update posted yesterday on the official Facebook page of "Jagat", highlighting an issue that concerns the different ratings given to the two movies, despite both dealing with almost the same plot and issues.
"Jagat" was released last year with an 18 rating, having failed to receive a P13 rating from the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF), while "Kabali" – which previously was rated 18 – was released last Friday with a revised rating of P13.
""Jagat" is violent, critical, sensitive...We appealed to LPF to change it to P13 so that the film might reach a wider audience. But, our appeal was dismissed with above stated reasons. We were given some suggestion to make "Jagat" eligible for P13 classification including a change of climax of the film. We denied and accepted the 18 classification," the post on "Jagat's" Facebook stated.
It also stated that "there was hardly any usage of gunshots or usage of machetes in "Jagat" except for just 2 shots."
"Kabali", however, managed to attain a P13 rating with only minor censorship.
The same post quoted LPF President Abdul Halim's reason for "Kabali's" censorship: "to make the film a P13-rated film, so it can be seen by more Malaysians. [There were] only very minor censorship. Every scene was cut by only a few seconds and the part we censored, we only shortened the violent scenes, like the usage of machetes and all the gory part, as this is a P13 rated film."
Apart from minor cuts, other changes made to the movie include the bleeping of the word 'keling', which is a derogatory term to local Indians, and a subtle but impactful change to the ending.
Fans of "Kabali" may be questioning the alternate ending but the bigger issue that is weighing on local movie aficionados' minds now is not just how the story is affected by the censorship, but also how censorship affects local movies' availability to a wider audience.
The revenue collected by local movies weighed with an 18 rating is understandably lower as it would receive limited release. A P13 rating would give local movies a wider audience but it would have to face major modifications that might altogether alter the storyline and the messages they were trying to convey to the audiences in the first place.
Movies in Malaysia are categorised into three classifications: U – for viewing by all walks of life without age limit, P13 – viewers under 13 years of age need parental/guardian supervision while viewing (contains elements of horror; scary; negative acts; suspense and frantic elements, but not excessive; elusive storyline; and elements that can disturb a child's emotion), and 18 – for viewers aged 18 and above (contains elements of horror, gory, and violent, but not excessive; adult scene that is not excessive; social, sensitive political and religious elements which require a high level understanding).