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Will ‘digital’ CBFC stop filmmakers from announcing release dates in advance?

As Central Board of Film Certification plans to start online certification of films from mid March, here’s what Bollywood directors and producers have to say — Is it a systematic approach? Or just another medium change without bringing them any good?

bollywood Updated: Jun 09, 2017 14:44 IST
Yashika Mathur
Yashika Mathur
Hindustan Times
CBFC,Pahlaj Nihalani,Aanand L Rai
CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani says a lot of filmmakers had started coming to them last minute to get their films certified.(HT Photo)

The impending digital avatar of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) mid March — which means that films will now be certified online — will most likely solve one of Censor Board’s biggest problems. That of filmmakers announcing release dates of their projects even before sending their films to CBFC for certification. Like how, Shah Rukh Khan and Aanand L Rai’s yet-untitled next has blocked Christmas 2018 as its release date, whereas Akshay Kumar-starrer Gold is slotted for Independence Day 2018.

“A lot of filmmakers were coming to us the last minute to get their films certified. The proper way is that they should not announce the date without certification. We will soon hold a press conference to announce the digitalisation of CBFC,” says chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani.


However, is it a beneficial step for filmmakers? Besides films’ promotion, marketing, the money invested is also likely to rise. Here’s what filmmakers have to say.

Madhur Bhandarkar believes that online certification will only pose more problems. “There should be a solution because there are certain big budget films being made that have to have a pre-fixed release date. I’m sure the senior people in the industry and the Censor Board will sit across and reach an amicable solution. Of course, there cannot be disparity between a small or a big a film,” he says.

Aanand L Rai says that online certification is a good way to streamline the system, but nothing helps till CBFC first realises that they can’t go ahead ordering cuts after cuts in a film. “This will have its own teething problem, which any filmmaker or department will have to take into consideration but slowly and steadily, people will become habitual and things will become more systematic. But the real issue is of cuts! Understand that you are a board, which has to give a certificate, you can’t tell online that there are a certain amount of cuts. Firstly, I have to get in a cue and then wait for the board to give me cuts. You tell me that there are these many cuts required and only then I can obtain the certificate, that won’t help me online. It will make things difficult for us,” says Rai.

Producer Pritish Nandy, however, chooses to look at the positive side, saying this combats the problem of having to keep shifting release dates . “I think it’s a realistic move because that is how things are shaping today that you fix a release date for the film and then the censor board certifies it. For my last film, Mastizaade (2016), I had to change the release date six times. Why would I want to get into a situation like that?” he asks.

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First Published: Mar 10, 2017 19:56 IST