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New grading system for films: Shyam Benegal’s CBFC roadmap

There is a need for a new system of grading films based on “age, maturity, sensibility and sensitivity” of the viewers, acclaimed film-maker Shyam Benegal said on Saturday, laying out his possible roadmap for revamping the controversy-ridden censor board.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2016 23:55 IST
Shyam Benegal

The Centre has named Benegal as the head of a committee to look at a possible revamping of the censor board which is under fire for allegedly stifling artistic freedom under present chairman Pahlaj Nihalani. (File Photo)

There is a need for a new system of grading films based on “age, maturity, sensibility and sensitivity” of the viewers, acclaimed film-maker Shyam Benegal said on Saturday, laying out his possible roadmap for revamping the controversy-ridden censor board.

The Centre has named Benegal as the head of a committee to look at a possible revamping of the censor board which is under fire for allegedly stifling artistic freedom under present chairman Pahlaj Nihalani. The panel has been asked to submit its recommendations within two months on reshaping the censor board, officially known as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

“There might be amendments and changes in the (existing) guidelines,” Benegal said after a meeting of the committee with the Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Rajyavardhan Rathore.

Jaitley also spoke on similar lines saying that film certification guidelines need contemporary interpretation and should be as non-discretionary as possible.

In most countries there is a mechanism for certifying films and documentaries, but it has to be ensured that in doing so, artistic creativity and freedom do not get curtailed, he added.

Rathore expressed confidence that the committee would provide a holistic framework for interpretation of the provisions of Cinematograph Act and Rules for the benefit of the chairperson and other members of the CBFC screening committee.

The censor board chief has earned the ire of filmmakers and other board members after he prepared a list of cuss words that could not be used in films.

The board also invited negative publicity after Nihalani revealed that he snipped many kissing scenes in the latest James Bond Movie Spectre without watching the film.

Fellow members of the board had charged him with running it as his “personal fiefdom”.

Apart from being the producer of the 1990s blockbusters Shola aur Shabnam and Aankhen, Nihalani was in news in 2014 for his ‘Har Ghar Modi-The Power House of India’, a song eulogising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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