The on-screen version of the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan introduces one of the villain’s henchmen as an ex-SBU agent. The SBU, or the Sluzhba Bespeky Ukrayiny, is the Security Service of Ukraine. However, the original, pre-screen cut of the film announced the character as ex-KGB, a former agent of the erstwhile Soviet Union’s spy agency, the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which orders cuts and modifications to films before they are released, asked the filmmakers to make this change before it could be screened publicly.
In fact, this is just one of over 1,000 cuts and changes ordered on over 300 films across multiple languages (including English) that were cleared for theatrical release across the country over the last few months. The Hindu collected and reviewed the censor board’s data on cuts made between November 2022 to the first week of February 2023 from two of the CBFC’s nine regional offices (Mumbai and Chennai), to understand the larger context in which the board seeks changes to films.