The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry, has recently constituted a committee headed by the noted film-maker Shyam Benegal to suggest measures to assist the Board members understand the nuances of the film certification.
The recommendations of this Committee are 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. Apart from this, the Committee is also expected to take note of the best practices throughout the world, especially where the film industry is provided sufficient space for creative and aesthetic expression.
The other members include Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Piyush Pandey, Bhawana Somaaya and Nina Lath Gupta. Sanjay Murthy, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is member-convener. The decision came amidst the controversies which have surrounded the board since the appointment of Pahlaj Nihalani, as Chairman, Central Board of Film Certification.
Importantly, the omission of Mr. Nihalani from the panel suggests objections about his controversial decisions — from eliminating the ‘cuss’ words to deleting scenes classified as objectionable. including even the adult movies such as the James Bond-starrer Spectre.
Speaking on the appointment, Mr. Benegal said that there could never be a set commandments for certifications, the rules have to be reviewed and revised on timely basis. “One of the things that I feel is important is not to apply scissors and blindly cut out scenes or even shorten them… Lot of preset notions needs to be changed, some of the practices that were followed by the CBFC recently appear to be somewhat arbitrary”, says Mr. Benegal.
The decision to appoint Shyam Benegal has also been welcomed by the film fraternity “There is no one better than Shyam Benegal to decide the future of Indian cinema. It is a fabulous step. They have chosen people who are not only good in their field, but are social aware and know what is happening in the country as well,” said the noted artist, Anupam Kher.