All those waiting to catch Rang De Basanti on TV this August 20, will have to settle for a truncated version now. The Censor Board’s scissors have won.
According to its recent proposal, movies with A or UA certificate would be telecast on TV only after the removal of ‘adult’ content.
Even the UA-certified movies will be relegated to late night slots as only U-certified films will make it to prime time. Therefore, RDB had to go through some chopping to stay on the noon slot.
So, are all TV viewers going to get only chopped off versions of hit films? Not if the channels could have their way. Even as the proposal is being deliberated upon, some channels are getting away with showing movies that they want to because all that the Board can do is complain to the I&B ministry.
Says the chairperson of the Board, Sharmila Tagore, “Recently, while Apharan was still under discussion, Star TV aired it without certification. We can’t penalise them. We’ve written to the ministry and the rest is up to them.”
Channels are certain that in terms of revenue, “weekend viewing will definitely be affected,” as says Anupama Mandloi, senior VP (programming) Sony. She adds, “How can you keep popular films away from prime time viewing?”
Is that a new dimension to the Board’s role of moral police? Strictly objecting to the term, Tagore says, “Right now, women and children make up 75 per cent of the viewers and unlike theatres, repetition of such stuff on TV has a long-lasting impact. We are not moral police but a certified body.”
And does the removal of objectionable scenes mean tampering with the film? Says Madhur Bhandarkar, “It directly hampers creativity, like it happened with my film Satta. If channels can’t show popular films on prime time even after chopping, we will lose revenue as ad sales will drop?”
Original item number Shefali Jariwala (Kaanta Laga) adds, “It should be left to us to decide what to watch. If you don’t like something, please change the channel.”
What if the next channel is showing the same stuff?