Indian cinema to move to new rule of graded certification: Takru

MUMBAI: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is working on a Cinematograph Bill that will change the way films are certified by the censor board.

I&B Ministry additional secretary Rajiv Takru said today that India will, in due course of time, move to a system of graded certification of films replacing the current regime of cutting of scenes.

He said that the changes in the envisaged Cinematograph Bill, which is being framed by the government, will certify films according to content so that it is viewed by different age groups or under parental guidance for those age groups rather than censor or cut scenes or insist on certain scenes being deleted.

At present, the Indian censor board - Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) - gives only two grades - ‘U‘ for universal (everyone can watch) and ‘A‘ for adults only. "The new system would be more like those in western countries where films are not chopped indiscriminately by the Government in an effort to make it suitable for the general public. In countries such as the US, films are given separate certification based on the level of violence, sex, etc," Takru added.

He was speaking at an interactive session between the film industry and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The event was organised by the CBFC and the CII. Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan was the chief guest at the event.

Among other dignitaries present were CBFC chairman Leela Samson, Yash Chopra, Amit Khanna, Shyam Benegal, Ramesh Sippy, Rituparno Ghosh, Anand Patwardhan and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

In her address, Samson said that the CBFC is formulating new set of rules that would be revealed in due course of month.

Revealing her wish to rename the CBFC as the Indian Board of Film Classification, Samson said, "It might be prudent to recommend to the government that instead of central board of film certification, we call ourselves Indian board of film classification.
We have moved into global mainstream and the tag of Central from our current name has little relevance abroad. We may consider replacing it with ‘Indian‘, which is what we are so proud to be," she added.

Earlier, inaugurating the event, Chavan launched the online portal of CBFC. The portal is meant to ease the task of the producer, help them register their film online and then keep track of the registration process from time-to-time.

"The producer is certain to get the Censor Board certificate within 21 days except in case where the Board wants him to furnish certain documents that he has to personally furnish. The producer can even have a view of the number of cuts affected by the Board online," explains Board member RVS Mani.

Expressing concern over the growing trend of violence and sexually explicit material in Bhojpuri films, Samson said: "We are concerned about a growing trend of extremely violent cinema, especially in the regional language cinema while picturisation and lyrics of Bhojpuri cinema are almost pornographic. We will take corrective measures and hope to have the industry and civil society‘s backing on this."

Later in an interactive session, filmmakers Yash Chopra, Amit Khanna, Shyam Benegal, Ramesh Sippy, Rituparno Ghosh, Anand Patwardhan, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Shabana Azmi took part in a discussion.

Talking high of the I&B ministry‘s new initiatives and its industry-friendly approach, most of them were of the view that the CBFC certification should be treated as the final verdict and there should not be any other kind of moral policing done by any party or group hampering the smooth screening of a film.

Said Shabana Azmi, "Often we find that some sections of the people resorting to protests against films that they think is bad for the society. In the process, they stop shows, ransack theatres showing such films, or then impose a ban. This is unjust and total disregard to the Censor Board certification."

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