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Messenger of God row: A farce called film certification Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan

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I have not seen the movie, and I have no interest to see this movie.
My interest is purely from the pOV of censors.

Who is censoring, and for what purpose?


Film certification in India has been a farce for many, many years. For a long time, I have been writing and saying that this system of certifying a movie as A (only adults) or UA (children over 12 though they must be accompanied by their parents) or U (universal) is defeatist. It serves absolutely no purpose.

I have seen young children trooping into theatres across India – chaperoned by their parents – showing the bloodiest, the goriest, the most sadistic and the most violent films. Cinemas have stopped stopping children from sitting through such screenings. Given the shrinking profits – particularly in States like Tamil Nadu where a ticket cannot be priced above Rs 120 – theatre managements would rather let a seat be occupied by a child than let it go vacant.
For years, there have been allegations of corruption among the officers. They have been accused of accepting bribes to either clear a film quickly or give it a favourable certificate like U – which can mean more viewers.

Last August, the CEO of the Central Board of Film Certification, Rakesh Kumar, was arrested reportedly for accepting a bribe to pass a regional movie. It was also alleged then that some top Bollywood producers had paid him money to get their films speedily cleared – and perhaps with a U or UA.

Probably, this explains why a particular movie is passed through a brutal pair of scissors while another slides through unscathed. Obviously, something is amiss here. The Board asked for extensive cuts in The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, and its director, David Fincher, said nothing doing. The film could not be screened in India. And this is the reason why so many great movies never come to this country.
What is equally perturbing is the "extra-constitutional" censorship. After the Board allows a film for viewing, some group or the other finds something objectionable, and threatens to burn down theatres that dare to show the movie. Often, the so-called objectionable issues are religious.

It is time, it is time that the Government – which controls the Board – sets this institution in order. It must have officers who are clean, who are not political appointees and who, above all, understand cinema in its entirety.
Messenger of God row: A farce called film certification


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