If a person can vote, he can censor a film too: Shekhar Kapur

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2015 14:43 IST

The row around the resignation of the Censor Board chief is getting widespread now. On one hand, the film fraternity is discussing about the value and jurisdiction of the board, and on the other, a faction of it views it as a natural thing.

"I don't know whether the corruption charges are true ... but I'd like to make an appeal to (I&B minister) Arun Jaitley - when he follows a system of liberal values and freedom of speech, his ministry should also be reflective of that," said filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.

Some were happy that freedom of expression was chosen over Samson's stand. Filmmaker Pritish Nandy said, "I believe that freedom of expression is paramount, and if a film has been passed - be it because of corruption or pressure, I'm all for celebrating it."

Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur has also spoken about the controversy. He said if a person can vote, he can censor a film too. When asked him about censor board chief Leela Samson's resignation and the debate surrounding the clearance given to controversial film Messenger of God, Kapur said he did not know what the movie was about.

"I heard that Leela Samson has resigned. I don't know anything about the film. I just found the trailer very amusing but I don't know what the controversy is all about," he told reporters.

The Mr India director, who faced trouble with Central Board of Film Certification during his 1996 film Bandit Queen, said a mature mind does not need a governing authority. "If we can handle mature things in a sensible way, then we can handle a film too. If a person can vote and is mature enough to select a government, then he or she is certainly mature enough to judge or see a film."

"We say people under 16 cannot watch certain films because they are not mature. Let's not have censorship for anybody above 16 because they are more mature than censor," Shekhar, 69, said.

Samson and another CBFC member Ira Bhaskar resigned as the controversy over the clearance of the Dera Sacha Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's film snowballed.

Echoing Kapur's sentiments, other Bollywood celebrities demanded an overhaul in CBFC guidelines. "Overhaul of CBFC is long overdue. CBFC's role must be
clearly defined and their processes, guidelines etc need a complete overhaul," filmmaker Hansal Mehta tweeted.

"Leela Samson stood bravely against the maniacs who wanted to ban PK. Today, she resigns because she was overruled by corruption," music composer Vishal Dadlani said.

Vivek Agnihotri tweeted, "Please go to CBFC (Censor Board) site and see the board of directors. It sounds like Politburo."

"Firstly, the board works with an act written in 1952. Then the governments dictate. Why have a chairperson at all," Anubhav Sinha tweeted. (With inputs from agencies)

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