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Bollywood on censorship: Are we heading back to the dark days?

March 17, 2015 10:58 IST

Mukesh BhattSeveral Bollywood A-listers including Aamir Khan, Deepika Padukone and Mukesh Bhatt on March 16 expressed their strong reservation about censor board's recent guidelines on 'cuss words' and raised the issue with Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

The marathon meeting came in the backdrop of the controversy over banning a list of 28 objectionable words circulated by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani which after protests from several quarters was put on hold.

"We met with Mr Rathore to discuss a range of key issues faced by us due to the latest guidelines issued by the censor board. We told him that the word censor has become very redundant. We asked him whether we are heading back to the dark days," Bhatt said.

Contrary to reports suggesting that the meeting was held to seek Nihalani's removal, he said, "There was no discussion on anybody's exit as such."

Bhatt, who is the President of Film and Television Producers Guild of India, said the minister assured him that the issue will be resolved soon.

"Rathore said he will meet and discuss the issues faced by us at regular intervals. He assured that he is with us," Bhatt said after the meeting, which lasted for two-and-a half hours.

Aamir said the minister "told us that it is not censor board, it is certification board. He said he is even considering to change its name to rating board instead of certification board".

According to Rathore, "No individual can affect the certification of films, so is the process. So, things are made in such a manner that no one person can hijack the system."

The meeting was attended by 30 members from film fraternity that also included Karan Johar, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Ramesh Sippy, GulzarVidya Balan, Vishesh Bhatt, Sudhir Mishra, Shabana Azmi, Kiran Roy, Vijay Singh, Uday Singh and Ajay Kakkar.

When asked whether the Bollywood actors were also concerned about issues related to film certification, Bhatt said, "It's not only directors or producers who are affected by it. Actors are also facing problems due to the recent guidelines and we, a group of 30 members, all have put across our issues with him."

He said the members also suggested to the minister to keep in loop about any changes in the board.

"Gulzar sahab has asked the minister to take us into confidence whenever there is some change or a new guideline is issued by the board," he said.

Censor board has received backlash from the film industry over its decision to remove the word 'lesbian' from the recently-released Dum Laga ke Haisha.

Hollywood erotic romance Fifty Shades of Grey also faced the ire of censor board guidelines as it could not get the primary clearance for its release.

Delaying Anushka Sharma's NH10 release by objecting to certain scenes in it brought board's inner conflict in open when member Chandraprakash Divedi voiced discontent over its functioning and later Ashoke Pandit called Nihalani a 'tyrant'.

Image: Mukesh Bhatt (File photo)

 

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