Benegal to head panel for revamping Censor Board

Benegal to head panel for revamping Censor Board

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has constituted a committee under eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal to make recommendations for restructuring the Censor Board.

The move came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened to end the controversies over certification of films.

The six-member panel will also suggest changes in the Cinematograph Act to provide the board with a “holistic framework” for its functioning so that neither the “artistic creativity and freedom” of a filmmaker is stifled, nor the “enriched cultural milieu” of the country gets affected with film certification.

“In most countries, there is a mechanism for certifying feature films and documentaries. However, it has to be ensured that in doing so, artistic creativity and freedom do not get stifled and the people tasked with the work of certification understand these nuances,” the ministry said.

Indian films with its “glorious history” have enriched the “cultural milieu” of the country besides making “astonishing” advances in technical aspects of film making. “Keeping this in view and in sync with the vision of the prime minister, a committee headed by Shyam Benegal has been constituted to suggest the paradigm for ensuring such a milieu,” the ministry added.

The committee has been requested to submit its recommendations within two months. I&B Minister Arun Jaitley had recently hinted at the makeover of the board to make it controversy-free. The 23-member Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which is commonly referred to as the Censor Board, has been mired in controversy since the beginning of the year when film-director Pahlaj Nihalani took charge as its chairperson.

Not only have several decisions taken by him like introducing a cuss list been opposed by fellow board members but the CBFC is chief also upset at the I&B Ministry when he produced a music video on Modi. Several filmmakers have complained of arbitrary objections and cuts sought by the board in the recent past.

The board recently drew sharp criticism over edits to the new James Bond film Spectre.

Benegal, who confirmed to have been intimated by the government about constitution of the committee, said he had agreed to head the panel after being contacted by the ministry earlier this week.

“I am personally not in favour of cutting up movies with a pair of scissors. The Censor Board should only be there for deciding the type of audience suited for each film,” a news channel quoted the veteran filmmaker as saying in reply to a question.

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