The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is at the centre of controversy again, this time over the resignation of its chairperson, Leela Samson. She resigned citing "interference, coercion and corruption of panel members" as the reasons for quitting.
Reports suggest that Samson, who was serving as the chief on an extension till the government appointed a new chief, finally decided to put in her papers on Friday, after the film Messenger of God (MSG) featuring Dera Sacha Sauda leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).
Her resignation has evoked strong reactions from the film industry, and many seem to agree with Leela's allegations of 'interference by members appointed by the government'.
"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," says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.
Award-winning filmmaker Onir says, "I hope her resignation brings about a positive change. She has a lot of respect in the industry and her resignation explains the hypocritical approach that the censor board has. It does come as a shock, but I hope filmmakers are not harassed anymore."
Mary Kom director Umang Kumar supports Samson's step. "If she took a stand, there must be a reason. After all, she was put in that position because she was considered capable of using her discretion wisely."
On the other hand, some are happy that freedom of expression was chosen over Samson's stand. Filmmaker Pritish Nandy says, "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."