By Srikanth Kanchinadham. Posted on February 16, 2016
India's central body for certifying films, the Central Board of Film Certification, is popularly referred to as the Censor Board. Therein lies the problem. The body that is meant to certify & rate films has over the years, taken over the onus of censoring films. While filmmakers have lived with this bureaucratic albatross around their necks for a long while, the CBFC has gone into an overdrive in the last few years.
Last year, around this time, a list of words that the CBFC was considering banning found its way online & created much furore & some mirth. The list included many commonly used cuss words as well as 'Bombay', the erstwhile name of Mumbai.
In recent times, two Indian films, Unfreedom and India’s Daughter, that were banned in India went on to receive international acclaim through awards and nominations at numerous film festivals and events. While Unfreedom revolves around religious fundamentalism and travails of a lesbian, India’s Daughter handles the sensitive issue of the 2012 'Nirbhaya' rape case. Both the films portray facets of Indian society that are not only true, but also need to be addressed. But the Central Board of Film Certification or Censor Board thought otherwise.
This is not the first time it is happening. From taming James Bond to banning Fifty Shades Of Grey, we are restricted from watching content that we are paying for. Pan Nalin's Angry Indian Goddesses was also censored for its vulgar and offensive content. Pictures of Indian goddesses and double standard statements (which we use everyday) were cut from the movie. In a protest against the censorship, makers of the film released a video with all the censored scenes on Facebook.
But there's hope on the horizon. The Government has formed a committee headed by Shyam Benegal to look into the matter & the committtee is asking for public comments at email@example.com according to the guidelines given here.
With the alarming rise of cuts and bans on movies, it’s time we as audience wake up. The Free Basics issue was scuttled by some smart internet activism. It is time we raise our voices against the censorship issue in India.
3 Redditors got together & have created an easy mechanism for ordinary citizens to respond to this call for responses. This is all you have to do;
Because you are not a kid. Nor are you a slave. You are entitled to & are intelligent enough to watch a film as the filmmaker meant it to be seen. Because the CBFC is supposed to certify, not censor or ban films. They can rate the film, but cannot cut it.
By sending an email you are voicing out your concern that could eventually restrict banning of good quality films. None of us want to sit through an ‘Adult’ rated Hollywood film and have all the good dialogues been replaced with ‘Man and Woman.’ We are adults and we can decide what we want to and what we don’t want to watch; which is why you MUST send the email.