19 Nov 2017
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Film censorship guidelines need to change: Col Rathore

MUMBAI: Close on the heels of the controversies surrounding the Censor Board, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has said that the film censorship guidelines need a change.

The minister also wants to reduce the interaction between the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) board members and film producers by facilitating an online censorship system.

“We have to change with the times. Justice Mudgal’s committee submitted its report two years ago. We are in the process of updating the Cinematography Act,” he said.

Rathore spoke at length on movie censorship issues. His comments came following complaints against CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani and his ‘diktats’ regarding film content.

In an interview to IANS, Rathore said, “We believe the CBFC’s primary job is certification and it should not at all get into negotiations with film producers about what can be taken out or not taken out of film. In our wisdom, we have elected professionals of the highest merit as members of the jury. People will talk about political leanings of the board members, but finally the credential of each board member is unquestionable.”

He also clarified that the government has no direct role to play in film certification and does not want to interfere in the running of the CBFC.

Recently, CBFC was embroiled in another controversy when two members, namely Ashoke Pandit and Chandraprakash Diwedi, spoke out strongly against the working method of CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani.

However, the minister stated that any member of an organisation such as the CBFC must realise the sanctity and prestige of the organisation and must respect them. “There is a grace required in their conduct. They have to transcend their routine personalities, keeping in mind the positions and responsibilities attached to the job.”

Rathore also cleared the air on the uproar over the cuts in the recently launched films ‘NH10’ and ‘Badlpaur’, which presented the government as conservative.

“The film industry’s reactions are based on a pre-conceived notion that this government cannot be anything but conservative. Hence, any action that we take would be viewed through a prism of suspicion and distrust. Hence, the uproar is based on perception rather than reality. We firmly want to send this message across to the film industry: Allow us the freedom of neutrality of your opinion before forming another opinion,” he said.

He added that sometimes filmmakers play a big part in putting out unacceptable content just to get the maximum eyeballs during the opening weekend. In this endeavour, they tend to go a few steps further than what the films really demand or need.

Rathore stated that the ministry is also looking at an online censorship system as it “shames him when he hears of some of our regional members in the censor board flaunting their visiting cards and misusing their authority. We are therefore looking at online censorship.”

Through online certification, the ministry aims to reduce the interaction between CBFC board members and producers so that no negotiation takes place over what scenes are to be cut.