CBFC official removed a week after row over documentary on Emergency

CBFC official removed a week after row over documentary on Emergency

CBFC official removed a week after row over documentary on Emergency

A week after a documentary on Emergency was denied certification by the Thiruvananthapuram Regional Office of the Central Board of Film Certification, a regional officer has been removed from her position.

Dr Prathibha A, the regional officer who was terminated from services, chosen not to link the two developments but said she would challenge her ouster legally.

21 Months of Hell, the documentary directed by Yadu Vijayakrishnan, traces the 1975-1977 period around Emergency and depicts ways of state oppression including torture methods adopted by the police. Kummanam Rajasekharan, state president of the BJP, had earlier criticised the CBFC decision and contended that the certification was denied because the documentary underlined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)'s positive interventions in fighting the Emergency.  

The tag-line on the documentary's promotional posters read "Horrifying revelations of the torture methods performed during the Emergency in India".

The director said he had approached the Board for an 'A' certification for the violent content but was outright denied certification. He said the CBFC objected to what it called disrespect to Mahatma Gandhi in the documentary, apart from disrespect to former prime minister Indira Gandhi and the national flag, and excessive violence. The filmmaker said he was asked to produce "evidence" to the torture methods depicted in documentary but the interviews with real victims which were an irrefutable evidence were not accepted.

Prathibha refused to comment on the alleged political context of the development which resulted in her stepping down two years before her term ends. "I look at this as an arbitrary order which is part of a bigger shake-up; other regional officers are also being moved. I'll fight this legally and have already started the process," Prathibha told DH on Monday. When asked pointedly on possibilities of politics at play, she said, "That's not for me to find out."

Prathibha said the Regional Officer could not be directly and exclusively linked to procedures leading to the certification of films. "The documentary was denied certification because the examining committee which viewed it found some parts of it objectionable and violent. The Regional Officer's responsibility is to see to it that set operational procedures are followed," she said.

 

 

 

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