Film directors, who might have said ‘cut' several hundred times while making a film, dread every single cut of the Censor Board at the time of certification.
No wonder they sound as delighted as director Thiagarajan Kumararaja after obtaining what they think is a reasonable certificate.
“The cuts suggested by the Board now are justified and once we get the details, we should be able to make the necessary changes . The current regional officer was very reasonable, as he understood the craft,” says Mr.Kumararaja, director of Aaranya Kaandam.
The film, which has already made a mark in some international film circuits,has been awarded an ‘A' rating. “The issue was not the rating, but the cuts suggested. Since we thought the cuts suggested initially would impact the narrative , we went to the revising committee. We were still not convinced, so we applied to the tribunal,” he said.
If the Censor Board raises objection to the use of certain words in the dialogue, applicants would have to explain to the tribunal what each of them means. If the tribunal finds the words justified in the context portrayed in the film, the cuts would no longer be necessary.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), often referred to as the ‘Censor Board' currently has four categories of certification – ‘U', ‘U/A', ‘A” and ‘S'.
For producers, the commercial perspective might be important. A film with a ‘U' or a ‘U/A' rating is likely to draw a larger audience, in many cases the entire family, including children.
However, R. Rangarajan, Director, AGS Entertainment. says it is not necessary that producers always adopt a strictly commercial view. “For instance, when we produced the film Yuthem Sei, as a parent I felt that an ‘A' rating was more appropriate for the film,” he says.
While the production house has, on some occasions, tried for a certification different from what the Board offered, it invariably found the Board right in its judgement , he says. AGS Entertainment's Avan Ivan has obtained a ‘U/A' certificate recently.
The creative perspective explains why directors seem finicky about cuts suggested by the Board. “Many of the so-called objectionable words or scenes are lifted out of real life. We use them only when we think they add value or character. The Board sometimes acts very strict to enhance its own image,” says a young director.
Censorship is not a particularly easy task for the Board, either. In a complex setting like India's where there are stark differences in educational standards, exposure and culture, the kind of films made also tend to reflect the diversity and differences in people, says CBFC chairperson Leela Samson.
“Some films are sophisticated and some are not. In some pockets, the films made tend to be very violent. The films made from the south are not like those made in the north. Everybody has a point of view,” she says.
The Board sought introduction of a few additional certification categories and the issue is expected to be taken up in the monsoon session of Parliament.
Keywords: Censor Board