WILL CEN­SOR SCIS­SORS BE BLUNTED?

Shyam Bene­gal’s meet­ing with I&B of­fi­cials re­vives spec­u­la­tion

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Monika Rawal Kukreja monika.rawal@htlive.com

The Cen­tral Board of Film Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion has become one of the most con­tro­ver­sial en­ti­ties of India, draw­ing crit­i­cism from film­mak­ers and even ac­tors such as Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma. A de­bate has again been trig­gered by di­rec­tor Shyam Bene­gal’s re­cent meet­ing with In­for­ma­tion & Broad­cast­ing Min­istry of­fi­cials.

Bene­gal was check­ing on the sta­tus of a re­port sub­mit­ted by a panel led by him in 2016. It sug­gested the CBFC should limit it­self to is­su­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and not cen­sor any­thing. Bene­gal is hope­ful that this would catal­yse changes in the Cine­mato­graph Act 1952. He tells us, “We gave the re­port in April and in October — they are yet to take ac­tion.”

The re­port has pro­posed in­tro­duc­ing a new cat­e­gory called ‘adult with cau­tion’; and sub-di­vid­ing ex­ist­ing cat­e­gories for teen groups.

In re­sponse, Pahlaj Ni­ha­lani, CBFC chair­man, tells us, “What the Shyam Bene­gal re­port says, I don’t agree with. If we don’t have a rat­ing sys­tem be­tween UA and A, we’ll sug­gest cuts, or we can’t cer­tify [a film].”

Film­maker Homi Ada­ja­nia points out snip­ping scenes is un­nec­es­sary, adding, “If cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is cat­e­gorised, au­di­ences can self-cen­sor.” Di­rec­tor Ruchi Narain, who faced cen­sor­ship is­sues with her car­toon film, quips, “Film­mak­ers should make films; the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion board should cer­tify.”

Rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­ity that cen­sor­ship could ever be scrapped, film­maker Hansal Mehta says that he has “a sink­ing feel­ing” In­dian cinema will have to live and work within its guide­lines.

In sup­port of the re­port, film critic Omar Qureshi says, “Cen­sor­ship rules are ar­chaic. The sug­ges­tions are an up­grade on the lines of the Amer­i­can as­so­ci­a­tion.”

We are breed­ing a ‘ban men­tal­ity’. You’re ir­ri­tat­ing people to the de­gree that it’s suf­fo­cat­ing them. We’re ed­u­cated. We know what’s right, what’s not.

ANUSHKA SHARMA, AC­TOR (IN AN EAR­LIER IN­TER­VIEW)

I’d urge you to get in touch with the sec­re­tary of the [I&B] min­istry or even the min­is­ter Ms Sm­riti Irani and ask them why they haven’t taken any ac­tion

SHYAM BENE­GAL, FILM­MAKER

It’s a wrong in­ter­pre­ta­tion by some un­knowl­edge­able people that CBFC is just a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion body. There’s an act and rule­book also, which you can’t for­get

PAHLAJ NI­HA­LANI, CBFC CHIEF

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: SONU MEHTA/HT

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