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Ektaa Kapoor missing in action at Ficci seminar

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NEW DELHI: Real life does not always imitate reel life. Unlike some of the perky women in her 'K' serials who take critics head on, the queen bee of Indian soaps, Ektaa Kapoor, decided to give a miss to a high-profile seminar on women, society and cinema here. This, even as information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expounded on his pet theory of 'no control, but self-regulation'.

Prasad today ruled out banning of any programme or a television channel despite "receiving" complaints on negative portrayal of women on television and films.

Reiterating what he has said many times earlier that he does not believe in control, but self-regulation, Prasad emphasised on the need for a proper blend of creativity and censorship. "The sensibilities of the people as a whole have to be reflected instead of the views of only a section of society," the minister said while inaugurating a seminar on 'Women, Cinema and Society' organized by the FICCI Ladies Organisation here today.

Prasad felt that the quest for the identity of Indian women is still on and this identity is still blurred and needs recognition.

How do we see women? Does Indian creativity means showing only extra-marital relations as depicted in some soap operas on television? These were some of the questions raised by the minister during his speech to an audience, which can be described as a power packed one with wives, sisters, daughters and mothers of influential Indian corporates in their designer wears.

Pointing out that the government does not visualize a role of a regulator for itself, Prasad said, however, the guidelines for film censorship can be modified in view of the changed circumstances. He said the sheer pace of technology is extraordinary and has overtaken us and global cinema is reaching every home. Some sort of timings for viewing films would have to be worked out, hinting at graded viewing time on television for films.

Referring to the questions of people's 'right to see' and the 'right to show', Prasad asked as to who would decide what people wanted to see. The creative producers have to act responsibly and exercise self-control to ensure that people's sensibilities are not offended and at the same time creativity is not curbed and beauty is portrayed with sensitivity, he said

The day-long seminar was attended by film and TV personalities, including Jaya Bachchan, Mrinal Sen, Mahesh Bhat, Vaijayantimala, Tanuja Chandra, Deepti Naval, Shashi Kapoor, Suhasini Maniratnam, Shabana Azmi, Neena Gupta and representatives of various women organisations.

The queen bee of Indian soaps, Ektaa Kapoor, who had been invited as a special guest failed to turn up, probably sensing the mood of the organizers and the audience that would come. During pre-seminar meetings only, some members of the FLO had come down heavily on the soaps, especially those churned out by Balaji Telefilms, as being regressive in nature.

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