Censor board issues diktat over cuss words and posters, stokes new controversy

The censor board has raised the hackles of Bollwyood filmmakers by issuing diktat over clearance of publicity posters and usage of cuss words in their movies

The Central Board of Film Certification has decided to take on the Bollywood producers’ body by laying down a diktat that all publicity posters have to be cleared by the censor board. The board has also issued a list of cuss words that will be banned in films, while also asking film-makers to use 'Mumbai' and not Bombay.

The letter by Central Board of Film Certification chief Pahlaj Nihalani directs its regional officers not to issue certificates to films which use these words, which are abuses in Hindi and English, and it has also been specified that double meaning words, violence against women and glorification of bloodshed not be allowed.

Pahlaj Nihalani, the new chief of CBFC
Pahlaj Nihalani, the new chief of CBFC

CBFC’s reply on the publicity posters comes in response to a statement issued by all producers’ bodies showing concern over the vulgar designs of posters for film promotion.

The board’s statement also mentioned that no trade magazine would be allowed to publish any poster without clearance from the association.

CBFC’s diktat to the producers’ bodies has not gone down well with them.

Mukesh Bhatt, president of Film and Television Producers Guild, has called this an arbitrary action of CBFC. Bhatt said, “Is it democracy or dictatorship? How can an arbitrary decision be taken without consultation of the film industry? We are the involved party here. I strongly object to both publicity posters clearance by CBFC and the deletion of cuss words.’’

Bhatt added, “We will not allow anyone to throttle our creative space. Are we creating a law and order situation or hurting a religion there one can understand? But why can’t an adult who is mature enough to vote not be mature enough to watch a film with cuss words.’’

It maybe be recalled that there was a time when films were issued ‘A’ certificate and not a single cuss word was deleted by the Board, Bhatt said, adding, “There has to be some sense of realism in cinema and we have all the right to express it through our films.’’

Even the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association has taken strong objection to CBFC taking away their right to clear publicity posters and the diktat to do away with abusive language in films. President TP Agarwal said, “We are not going to allow CBFC to take away the right of clearing publicity posters. We do our censorship before clearing a poster.’’ Talking about the use of cuss words and the censor’s list, sent to producers, that regional officers and producers have been asked to keep out of films. Agarwal said, “That is also unacceptable. We will not allow freedom of expression to be curtailed. We are competing with international cinema today and we can’t be so rigid.’’

Certification for film producer Mahendra Dhariwal’s film ‘Monsoon’ has been put on hold due to alleged vulgar publicity posters of the film. Dhariwal alleges, “I have got the publicity cleared from Indian Film and Television Producers Council as I am member of that association and have already spent about Rs 20 lakh on printing of the posters. And my film is due for release on February 20,’’

CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani did not comment on the film but speaking about the diktat to the film industry on cuss words and publicity posters. Nihalani said, “I am not taking any arbitrary decision but just following the guidelines of Cinematograph Act and recommendation of the right of publicity posters by CBFC has been suggested by the Mudgal Committee and not me. So don’t blame me for any arbitrary decisions.’’


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