Centre has constituted a committee to revamp the censor board by recommending measures to provide a holistic framework and enable those tasked with the work of certification of films to discharge their responsibilities keeping in view this framework. The committee will be headed by noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal. Other members include filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, adman Piyush Pandey, journalist and film critic Bhawana Somaaya, National Film Development Corporations’s MD Nina Lath Gupta and Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s Joint Secretary (Films) K Sanjay Murthy.
The move comes after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) faced much criticism over censorship of films after Pahlaj Nihlani took over as its chairperson. The CBFC’s cutting of several scenes from the James Bond movie Spectre, blurring some visuals in the movie Angry Indian Goddesses, and removing curses and certain expressions from other films has irked both public and film makers.
The key mandate of the committee would be to suggest broad guidelines and procedures under provisions of the Cinematograph Act and Rules for the benefit of the chairperson and other members of the Screening Committee. It will also look into the staffing patterns of the CBFC and recommend a framework which would provide transparent, efficient and user friendly services.
“During their deliberations, the committee would be expected to take note of the best practices in various parts of the world, especially where the film industry is given sufficient and adequate space for creative and aesthetic expression,” the ministry release said
The government while acknowledging the mechanisms for certifying films and documentaries in most countries said that, however it has to be ensured that in doing so, artistic creativity and freedom do not get stifled/ curtailed and the people tasked with the work of certification understand these nuances.
The committee is expected to submit its report within two months to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.