As Prakash Jha’s controversial film on caste-based reservations, Aarakshan, is banned in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, filmmakers are furious with the powerlessness of the Censor Board, which had cleared the film. Buckling under the pressure, Jha on Thursday announced that he’d change certain scenes in the film, and has also moved the SC.
The fraternity, however, says they don’t know why they need to seek clearance from the board if their films can be autonomously disrupted by state governments and individuals.
“The Censor Board cleared the film without a single cut, and with a U/A certificate. I don’t understand why everybody is up in arms against my film,” Jha had said recently. “We need a censor board, but just as a museum piece,” says Ram Gopal Varma, who was recently served a notice by Neeraj Grover murder accused Maria Susairaj and Jerome Matthews, who demanded that the film not be released without their consent since it’s based on their life. Last month, the screening of Singham was disrupted in Karnataka when pro-Kannad activists objected to some dialogues.
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar says, “Censor Board comprises people from different fields. Once they’ve given the certificate and suggested corrections and yet the film is banned, what do we do? Where’s our fundamental right?”
The chairperson of the board, Leela Samson, however, says, “No, we are not helpless. We have issued a certificate that has been upheld by the Mumbai High Court. If after that, the producer or director feels pressurised, the CBFC will seek the advice of the additional solicitor general and through the ministry, forward this to the Mumbai High Court.”