IB ministry makes censors back off in fight with filmdom
Interim relief for Bollywood, Censor Board will clear movies for TV
Bharti Dubey and Vickey Lalwani (BOMBAY TIMES; September 1, 2012)
The film industry, which has been battling to overturn a censor board decision to not re-certify A-rated films for television, can heave a sigh of relief, at least for now.
This newspaper has reliably learnt that the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has stepped in to resolve the deadlock by asking censors to continue pruning films for the small screen until suitable amendments are made in the Cable Television Act.
Once these changes are in place, however, the censors may get their wish that a majority of the re-certified movies can be shown on TV only after 11 pm. The censors contend that some of these films, no matter how extensive the cuts, deal with themes that are unsuitable for younger audiences.
This interim solution brokered by the government will save the film industry tens of crores of rupees per film from satellite rights, which has emerged as one of the major revenue-earners in this era of cable television.
Mumbai Mirror had reported on August 25 that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had decided to stop re-certifying A-rated films, thereby making them ineligible for telecast on TV. It led to a huge furore as movies on the waitlist for CBFC clearance included several big-ticket projects such as Delhi Belly, Gangs Of Wasseypur (parts 1 and 2) and Hate Story. The satellite rights of many of these films had already been sold to broadcasters. Some top producers even pointed out that the decision would deeply impact the economics of the industry because a film now earns about 40 per cent of its total profits from satellite rights alone.
The move to re-modify films again was, expectedly, hailed by some of the industry’s top names. “The I & B Ministry’s decision is a hundred percent correct,” said producer Pahlaj Nihalani. “The censor board should not have taken such a hard stand.”
Producer Ramesh Taurani explained the solution as practical. “Samjhauta hua hai,” he said. “If you carefully see most films, it is one small expletive here or a kiss there which comes under the scanner. Why should every producer suffer for only a few films which are replete with adult content?”
Abhinay Deo, the director of Delhi Belly, took a conciliatory line as well. “I don’t completely blame the government or the censors as TV is a sensitive medium. At the same time, it doesn’t make sense to take an extreme step and say that nothing can be shown. The need of the hour is a body that includes the government, the film industry, and the audience. It should not be a blame game. What is adult and what is not should be decided with sensibility.”
Pankaja Thakur, the CEO of CBFC, could not be reached for comments.
The controversy had started last month when objections were raised with the manner in which The Dirty Picture had been modified for TV, with a case filed against its telecast.
The CBFC had, in order to avoid such a conflict, told the film producers that all modified A-rated films should only be shown only after 11 pm. This suggestion was accepted for The Dirty Picture, but the producers of Jannat 2, fearing a loss of revenue in satellite rights, had challenged the CBFC’s guideline in the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).
The FCAT had ruled in the production house’s favour and told CBFC that it could not decide the slotting of films on TV. The CBFC had then pointed out that since the modification of A-rated films was a facility it was extending to the film industry, asking for time-slots in return was not unreasonable. It had decided to stop re-certification altogether until amendments were made in the Cinematograph Act telling them to do so.
A list of recent movies which have been modified for TV includes some of the most talked-about movies in recent months, including Sahib Bibi Aur Gangster, Shor in the City, Ishqiya, Desi Boyz, Love Sex Dhoka, and Ragini MMS.
(With inputs by Mehul S Thakkar)
- The Censor Board’s guidelines for gaalis in movies
- Directors who got second chance post forgettable debut
- The cuss words in Go Goa Gone were heartfelt-Kunal Khemu
- Shabana Azmi gets into fight with Ishq Ki Maa Ki lyricist
- Buying luxury cars to celebrate film success latest fad in Bollywood?
- Anurag Kashyap: The Indian face of Cannes
- I am living the male fantasy-Emraan Hashmi
- From A to U/A: Filmmakers dodge censors
- Shahid Kapoor completes a decade in Bollywood
- What good would Dilip Kumar’s love be without Madhubala?-Priyanka Chopra