Cinema is fine; Television needs a censor

MUMBAI: With a panel as articulate, nothing short of an intriguing session was expected. Amongst the first sessions to start off on the last day at Frames 2004, "Sense, censor and sensibility" did open a can of worms, proverbially of course.

Issue about the cinema censorship has been a squeamish one and the panel did try and air film-makers' grievances. Throughout the debate, all that the esteemed panel opined that cinema is fine since audience has a choice but it is television that needs a censor.

Vocalising the unfair and illogical treatment meted out to the filmmakers, the panel comprising director - producer Mahesh Bhatt, director-producer Ramesh Sippy, director Sudhir Mishra, actor-director Rahul Bose offered that the censor board - in its present structure is extremely redundant. "If you kiss a woman on screen, you get an A certificate. But if you kill her, you get a U," said Bhatt.

The panel more or less did agree than any form of censor was unfair. Solutions ranging from moderate- 'literate' censor to body chosen by the film fraternity were discussed and subsequently shot down. What was agreed on was a semblance of a rating system like Western cinema.

Unarguably, what the panelists and the host - The Film Producers Guild of India president and Ficci entertainment committee president Amit Khanna urged has been screaming at our faces for long. Is the censorship really necessary and who decides what has should be censored especially in a 'democratic' country like ours? Bolstering their plea to completely do away with current high 'politicised', 'bureaucratic and 'humiliating' system were views of the members in the audience, who had a tale or two about the unpleasantries meted out to them.


Although the panel didn't deal with the issue in depth, both Bhatt and Khanna voiced their support for I&B minister R S Prasad and censor board chief's views on television censorship. "Do something about television," urged Bhatt which Khanna seconded.

Exactly like the title itself, censor seems like an odd ball between sense and sensibility, till of course it tries to 'fit in' and adapt.

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