It’s official. For the first time, the film industry will have a 50 per cent reservation in the Censor Advisory Board. The Union Information & Broadcasting Minister, Ambika Soni, has sent a letter to the effect to the Film Federation of India (FFI) and the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA). TP Aggarwal, president of the FFI and the first vice-president of the International Federation of the Film Producers Association, is elated by the development.
“So far we had no representation in the Censor Advisory Board and there were grievances aplenty from the film fraternity over unjustified cuts and ‘A’ and ‘U/A’ certification for films that were perceived fit for universal viewing by their makers. This directive should bring down the number of complaints,” he reasons.
“Also, it was felt that big production houses got away with a cautionary warning and a ‘U/A’ certificate while the smaller, independent producers were penalised with an ‘A’ certificate. Such discrimination will end now. Whatever the verdict, it should be equal for all.” Agarwal plans to sit with members of the Federations for actors, editors, cinematographers, writers and directors for feedback and will ask them to suggest members who can represent the industry fairly. “Once we compile a master list, I will seek an appointment with Ms Soni and present it to the I& B Ministry. I’m hopeful that the directive will come into effect this year itself,” he asserts.
Till now, the Board has had a large representation of central ministers and Members of Parliament, but now, the political quota has reportedly been reduced to 33 per cent. “I think it shouldn’t be more than 15 per cent, with more people from other walks of life, who have a better understanding of cinema, coming on board. That will further reduce allegations of bias,” points out Agarwal.
Hindi films with censor run-ins this year:
No One Killed Jessica: The film had the censors in a tizzy over a ‘smoking’ scene featuring Rani Mukerji, who got abusive in the film and even showed her middle finger. It was eventually passed with an ‘A’ certificate and
Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji: Madhur Bhandarkar was pulled up for the use of two words, ‘sex’ and ‘pornography’, and was asked to delete them from the promos.
Ragini MMS: The censors refused to grant the film even an ‘A’ certificate till three sequences were edited out. One talked about the after-effects of aphrodisiac tablets, the other had the male lead, Rajkumar Yadav, asking for oral sex and the third referred to male and female genitals during an intimate moment.
Shaitan: Producer Anurag Kashyap had to come on screen and announce that smoking and doing drugs, acts that characters in the movie indulge, were
injurious to health. Only then his film cleared with an ‘A’ certificate.
Murder 2: The first set of TV promos came in for some heavy editing. This included a steamy scene and a line of dialogue that went, “Tere tukde kare char”.