Shabana Azmi: Censor board can be broad-minded

National-award-winning actress Shabana Azmi says the censor board can work with a broader mindset provided the Cinematograph Act undergoes a revision.

Shabana Azmi
Shabana Azmi

Recently, trailer of filmmaker Hansal Mehta's upcoming drama "Aligarh" was given an 'A' certificate by the board as the movie dealt with homosexuality.

Azmi, who acted in Deepa Mehta's 1996 controversial film "Fire", about a lonely woman falling in love with her sister-in-law, feels the censor board should be called "modern film certification."

"They can be that (broad minded)... But the thing is they are bound by the Act, by whatever is the rule book. The rule book needs to be changed. And for that to happen, it needs an overhaul," Azmi told PTI.

"First you have to call it the modern film certification, you cannot call it the censor board. When you call it the censor board you feel inherently you have to censor. You are supposed to certify, classify. That is your business, not to censor," she added.

The 65-year-old "Arth" actress said as the censor board is chosen in affiliation to the current government, it cannot subject to the country's morality.

"We all know that the board is chosen because of its affiliation to the government in power. That means you are subjecting on country's morality... To the political dispensation of the day, which simply isn't acceptable. So this overhaul is necessary of the 1952 Cinematograph Act."

A new committee, headed by filmmaker Shyam Benegal, has been appointed by the government to look into the working of the board, which has been at he receiving end of criticism by filmmakers.

Azmi congratulated the government and said it is a "broad based" committee which is a "healthy" thing.

"I think it's a broad based committee. I would like to congratulate the government for not going with people in the committee who are only... You can't say that Shyam Benegal is a BJP supporter.

So that's a good, healthy thing."

The veteran actress hopes the recommendations of the committee is taken up by the board to frame a relevant policy.

"I do hope they take into the consideration the recommendations (of new committee) and then come up with a policy which is more relevant in time."

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