The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), in a reply to producers’ bodies, has said that the board may take over clearance of film publicity posters.
They have also sent them a list of cuss words with a diktat saying these should be deleted from films. mid-day had reported on the CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s new guidelines on certifying films with abusive and violent content (‘Censor Board will not tolerate abuse, says new chief’, January 24, 2015).
The reply on publicity posters comes after a joint statement was issued by all producers’ bodies recently, showing concern over vulgar designs of posters for film promotion. The statement also mentioned that no trade magazine will publish any poster without clearance of the producers’ associations.
CBFC’s decision has not gone down well with producers’ bodies. Mukesh Bhatt, president of Film and Television Producers’ Guild said, “Is it democracy or dictatorship? How can an arbitrary decision be taken without consultation of the film industry? I strongly object to the publicity posters clearance by CBFC and diktat on cuss words.”
He added, “We will not allow anyone to throttle our creative space. If we are creating a law and order situation or hurting a religion, 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 may be recalled there was a time upto 2013 when films were issued ‘A’ certificate and not a single cuss word was deleted by the board. The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association President T P Agarwal said, “We are not going to allow CBFC to take away our right of clearing publicity posters. We do censor before clearing a poster.
The diktat on cuss words is also unacceptable. We are competing with international cinema today and can’t be so rigid.” Producer Mahendra Dhariwal’s film Monsoon’s certification has been put on hold due to its alleged vulgar publicity posters.
Dhariwal said, “I have got the publicity posters cleared from Indian Film and Television Producers’ Council as I am its member. I have spent about R20 lakh on printing the posters and my film is due for release on February 20.” Three producers’ bodies will meet on Monday to discuss the issue.
CBFC chief Nihalani, speaking about the diktat and publicity posters, said, “I am not taking any arbitrary decision, but just following the guidelines of the Cinematograph Act. The Mudgal committee, and not me, had suggested that publicity posters be cleared by CBFC. So don’t blame me for any ‘arbitrary’ decisions.”