Regulators

No role in CBFC’s decision to put list of offensive words on hold: I&B

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NEW DELHI: Even as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has put on hold the list of 28 "objectionable and abusive" words to be banned from Indian films, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has denied any role in this.

A Ministry official told Indiantelevision.com that any decision in this regard may have been taken at the level of the Board or by its chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, who had issued the list, leading to protests from some members.

Interestingly, in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha in this regard on 24 February, Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore had said, “CBFC under the Ministry certifies films for public screening in accordance with the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983. Section 5B of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 provides principles for guidance in certifying films. Guidelines for certification of films notified under the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules lay down among other things that CBFC shall be guided by the following principles in this regard: (i) human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity; and (ii) such dual meaning words as obviously cater to baser instincts are not allowed.”

Interestingly, the Minister refrained from making a comment on the list issued by Nihalani.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Nihalani will be meeting Ministry officials in New Delhi in the next few days.

Earlier in a circular to the producers’ association and regional officers, the Board listed several "objectionable words" that are being used in films and directed its regional officers to ensure a ban on the list of cuss words. It also aimed to seek more conformity from directors and scriptwriters on cultural matters and political correctness. It also said ‘Mumbai’ should be used in place of ‘Bombay’ in films.

The list led to a Twitter war where some members said Nihalani had taken the decision unilaterally.

However, Nihalani told Indiantelevision.com that he was within his rights to issue the list as he was only following the powers given to him under the Cinematograph Act and was only referring to words that the Certification Guidelines do not allow.

It is learnt that during a several-hours-long meeting of CBFC in Mumbai earlier this week, several members of the board opposed the move to impose such a ban. It is understood that status quo would be maintained and the list will be put on hold, the source said.

The letter by Nihalani directed its regional officers not to issue certificates to films, which use these words, which are abuses in Hindi and English, and it has also been specified that double meaning words, violence against women and glorification of bloodshed should not be allowed.

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