India: Censorship board bleeps out ‘Bombay’ from music video


Mihir Joshi, an Indian musician recording his first album in 2014, needed a word to rhyme with ‘today’ in one of his songs and found one that he thought fit perfectly. But India’s Central Board of Film Certification disagreed.

The censorship board replaced it with a beep when the music video debuted on tv. The word they had an issue with, much to Joshi’s surprise, was ‘Bombay’.

“I started laughing and I said, ‘What are you talking about?’” the 33-year-old singer told the New York Times.

Bombay is the former name of India’s financial capital of over 20 million people, but in 1995 it was changed to Mumbai on the demands of the right-wing party governing the city at the time. The party claimed Bombay was a symbol of British imperialism, and changed it to better represent local culture.


Mihir Joshi received the above ‘censorship certificate’ which he posted on Facebook and wrote:

“For anyone who is wondering. Here is the censor certificate sent to me by the Times Music guys. The word Bombay as you can see was removed.

We’re not making this up. It’s too insane to make up. I don’t care about politics or the controversy. All I’m saying is that whichever board did it (and you can see the names of the members on the certificate. Don’t know which administration they’re a part of) removing the word Bombay is just wrong.

I used the word because it fit in the lyrics:

“I’m sorry sweetheart…this is the world I’m giving you today
Its the same thing no matter what you read…from Delhi to Mumbai
I wish it was different darling…wish you could feel nice and safe
But the world’s gone crazy, I don’t know what to say”

Did not think that using the word there would cause a controversy. The album is called ‪#‎MumbaiBlues‬ and I’ve never had a problem with Mumbai or Bombay. I just feel that what happened here is not right.

The word is just incidental. It’s NOT the main message of the song which is why when Times Music told me they asked to remove it…I said do whatever it takes and just get the song on tv. They agreed to the muting of the word, got the censor, sent out the song to the channels in January and it aired on Pepsi MTV Indies two days ago for the first time.

That is when I first saw the muted version and tweeted about it. And all this jazz happened.”

‘Sorry’ – published on on 31 May 2014.

» New York Times – 2 February 2015:
In This Song, a Bleep Fills In for ‘Bombay’

» Time – 2 February 2015:
India’s Censorship Board Bleeped Out ‘Bombay’ From a Music Video