The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has been under the scanner for a while now. After the huge controversy surrounding the certification and censorship of Shahid Kapoor-Alia Bhatt’s Udta Punjab, there was a demand made by Bollywood filmmakers for a reform in the certification process. However, nothing changed. Recently, Raveena Tandon’s Maatr has been denied certification by the CBFC. This has irked a lot of filmmakers, including Amol Palekar. The veteran director was so fed up that he wrote a plea to the Supreme Court against the pre-censorship process. And his argument is also just!
Talking about his petition, Palekar told Bombay Times, “After about 47 years, the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Cinematograph Act of 1952 is being challenged.Usually, producers or directors approach the judiciary to seek relief if their film is being denied certification. No one finds it necessary to hit the broader issues beyond their own specific immediate reliefs. It’s high time we proceed to reclaim our evaporating freedom.”
Amol Palekar also feels that the Censorship laws have become invalid in today’s day and age. As he further stated, “When content on television and internet is free of censorship, the same content being altered, cut or deleted before being shown in a cinema hall is an attack on our right to equality. Today modern technology makes dissemination of information available in real time through a variety of media, many of which are either not regulated or if regulated, not subjected to pre-censorship.” (ALSO READ – Hey CBFC, Sonakshi Sinha wants you to come to a ‘consensus’ while censoring films)
CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani also agrees that a revamp is necessary. While talking to BT he said, “We need a rating system. Films are made from a realistic perspective and the current guidelines make it difficult for the Board to certify them. But I don’t agree with the recommendations made by the Shyam Benegal Committee. After assuming office in January 2015, I had sent a set of recommendations in February and then in June. We are waiting for a response from the government.”
In the meanwhile, the Supreme Court has responded to Amol’s plea and ordered the Centre (I&B Ministry) and the CBFC to respond to his letter. Let’s wait and watch what happens next.