The BJP government has appointed a panel headed by Shyam Benegal to look into how the workings of the Censor Board can be improved. Pahlaj Nihalani, the chairperson of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) is happy with the move, so much so that he threw an impromptu party on New Year’s day for all the board members and stockholders. “When I heard about the government’s decision, I wanted to celebrate. I immediately arranged a party in the Censor Board office. I am so happy that the government has decided to appoint Shyam babu who has four decades of experience as a filmmaker and is a prominent member of the film industry. He has gone through the pain of his films being censored. He will know exactly where to draw the line. He is not my nemesis,” says Nihalani.
He adds that he wants to extend his support to Shyam Benegal in every way possible. “I’ve always admired his contribution to the film industry. It would be an honour to support him in every way possible, provided he wants my support.”
However, Nihalani warns that it will be an uphill task for the new panel. “The guidelines followed by the Censor Board are based on the Cinematograph Act of 1952. These guidelines clearly tell us to censor films whereas the present government wants to abolish censorship and implement certification of films by the CBFC.”
This month Nihalani completes one year as CBFC chairperson. He says he has been fighting to bring about changes. “I’ve been repeatedly asking for the current mode of certification to be abolished and replaced by gradation — whether a film is suitable for audiences above 18, below 18, or of 12 and above, and so on. My endeavour has been to clean out all the corruption from the CBFC and to bring in transparency. I think I’ve succeeded in that.”
He shoots down the theory that Benegal has been brought in to pull him down. “I am ready to step down any time. For that there is no need to bring in a panel. I am a very small part of the system that needs a drastic change.”
Vikram Bhatt’s movie gets the sanskari treatment
Two kisses in Vikram Bhatt’s Love Games have been seriously curtailed by the CBFC’s Tribunal, the government appointed body that hears appeals from those aggrieved by the CBFC’s orders.
Apparently, when serious cuts were ordered in the film by the Examining Committee, Vikram’s producer, Mahesh Bhatt, decided to take the film straight to the Tribunal.
Says a source in the know, “Instead of taking the film to the Revising Committee, Mahesh Bhatt preferred to go straight to the Tribunal who has now passed the film with an ‘Adults Only’ certificate, with five verbal cuts. The words ‘f**ck’, ‘f**ker’, ‘b**ch’, ‘a**hole’, ‘ch***ya’ have been ordered to be cut. Scenes showing characters consuming drugs have also been deleted. Two kissing scenes have been drastically shortened. The rest of the film has been left intact.”
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