I&B Ministry calls for truce between filmmakers and the CBFC over censorship issues
At a time when Hindi films have come under criticism for disrespectful portrayal of women, and Censor Board decisions are increasingly being viewed as arbitrary, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has stepped in to broker peace between the warring parties – the producers and the Board.
The bone of contention being the Cinematograph Act 1952 that the film industry thinks is outdated. The I&B Ministry has called for a meeting with all parties concerned between April 3 and April 5, though the venue hasn’t been decided yet. Representing the film industry will be Farhan Akhtar, Ramesh Sippy, President of the Producers’ Guild Mukesh Bhatt, President of the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers (AMTPP) Sajid Nadiadwala and Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association Chief TP Agarwal.
Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Chief Leela Samson and CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur will represent the censors. Also present will be senior members from the special panel that was instituted under the chairmanship of judicial expert Mukul Mudgal to review the functioning of the Censor Board.
The meeting will set the pace for the necessary amendments to the Cinematograph Act 1952, after taking into consideration suggestions by all concerned. Special song and dance numbers, foul language, and scenes portraying actors and actresses smoking and drinking are likely to be discussed during the meet.
Agarwal confirmed the news and said: “The very fact that the meeting spans three days indicates we are going to have a very long discussion. I am very optimistic about the outcome.” Said Mukesh Bhatt: “Today, there is a lot of ambiguity about what will be cut and what will go through. As things stand, there are no guidelines.”
Meanwhile, a filmmaker on the condition of anonymity, said censors seem to have turned a bit too prudish. “Recently, Leela Samson assured there is a wrong impression within the film industry that the Censor Board has adopted a rule to certify all special numbers with an ‘A’ (adults only) certificate. Despite the assurance, filmmakers are extremely cagey. The meeting on April 3 is very good news for the films being made,” the source said.
On the subject of special numbers – particularly Fevicol Se from Dabangg 2 and Sheila Ki Jawaani from Tees Maar Khan – having faced a lot of flak, a leading producer (on request of anonymity), said: “It isn’t now that special numbers have come into existence. One can think of many actresses in the past who have done such numbers. Is it that the censors turned a blind eye to them simply because they weren’t lead actresses? Moreover, cuss words are chopped in one film while they are retained in another film. What are the rules? Who draws the line, and where?”
Writer-director Rensil D’Silva said: “Too much money rides on movies. If there is clarity, there will be no jolts at the time we submit our films to the censors.”
When contacted, I&B Minister Manish Tewari said: “We already have a panel headed by judicial expert Mukul Mudgal to look into certain issues which the film industry has. But if they still have some issues, we are ready to walk the extra mile.
- CBFC: No move to give ‘A’ certificate to all item songs (ibnlive.in.com)
- CBFC blocks anti-Mamata Bengali film (thehindu.com)