The queer teen film Love, Simon is a massive hit. While the Greg Berlanti directorial did exceedingly well in theatres across the world, there has been worldwide outrage at the alleged ban on the film in India. This coming-of-age comedy grapples with the sexual orientation of its 17-year-old protagonist and to the dismay of many, it didn’t make it to Indian theatres.
Reports Gay Star News, “LGBTI people across India are reeling that Love, Simon has been delayed ‘indefinitely’. The popular gay coming of age movie was a worldwide hit. Its Indian release date was supposed to be 1 June. But people reported that when they tried to book tickets to previously announced screening times, they were no longer available (sic).”
It is understood the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) banned Love, Simon because of the film’s gay content. Regardless of the CBFC’s reasoning, the LGBTI community has united to convince the authorities to release the film. The hashtags #ReleaseLoveSimoninIndia and #LoveSimon are trending on Twitter. Some have even launched online petitions to overturn the ban. Activists feel LGBTI representation is especially important in a country where gay sex is criminalised under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. LGBTI issues don’t receive much mainstream attention in the country.
However, CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi has completely trashed the allegations of a ban on Love, Simon.
Says Prasoon, “CBFC certificate has been given to Love, Simon four months ago, on 6 February 2018.”
Another more vocal source from the CBFC says, “This is one more attempt to use the censor board to gain publicity for a film. The truth is Love, Simon was not released in India for the same reason Call Me By Your Name was not released. There is no audience interest in India for films on homosexuality.”