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Bollywood at loggerheads with new Censor Board chief

Upset with new CBFC CEO Rakesh Kumar’s remarks on crackdown of films, many in the film industry now plan to take up the matter with the Information & Broadcasting Ministry

The film industry is up in arms against newly appointed Censor Board chief Rakesh Kumar for having hit out against their films. So much so that the industry has decided to approach the Information & Broadcasting Ministry alleging irresponsible behaviour on Kumar’s part.

Rakul Preet Singh and Himansh Kohli in 'Yaariyan'
Rakul Preet Singh and Himansh Kohli in 'Yaariyan'

Producer Mukesh Bhatt said that they plan to speak to CBFC chairperson Leela Samson and I&B minister Manish Tiwari, informing the two of the situation. “The CBFC chief shouldn’t conduct his work in this manner; this is not acceptable at all. We take strong objection to it,” he said.

A producer, who didn’t wish to be named, lamented the sad turn of events. “Censorship today has become a regressive and hypocritical affair. The industry has been constantly suffering at the hands of this mismanaged body and with a railway babu from Baroda now at the helm, things don’t seem to get any better.”

Vikas Mohan, Senior Vice President of Indian Film and Television Programme Council (IFTPC), said that Rakesh Kumar should make objective decisions and not make public his personal likes and dislikes. “He holds an important position and hence, can’t make irresponsible comments. He only needs to follow the guidelines; let the audience pass judgement on our films and not him,” he said.

The film industry is known to have been at loggerheads with CBFC and Rakesh Kumar’s recent comments on how he is embarrassed by today’s cinema (“I was embarrassed to watch the U/A film Yaariyan with my five-year-old daughter…”) have clearly added fuel to the fire. Producer Divya Khosla Kumar contended that her film Yaariyan is a youth-centric film and not targetted at children. “The language used in the film reflects today’s reality. A five-year-old shouldn’t be watching it,” she said.

Kulmeet Makkar, CEO of Film and Television Producers Guild, says that Rakesh Kumar has now requested a meeting with industry leaders in order to clarify his stand. “I will be arranging it some time next week,” he said.

When contacted, Kumar said the statements he made were his personal take on cinema today. “A lot of things I said were casual statements and I was not supposed to be quoted. I will continue working on confidence building measures and have already spoken to several associations about this. I didn’t mean to offend anyone,” he said.

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