Outgoing Censor Board chief Sharmila Tagore has been unusual in as much as a visible face, a continuing actor and censor board head. “I think this has been one legacy I can really be proud of. We are now more transparent than so many other such bodies and we have had a variety of issues to address.” Tagore emphasised that, given the complexity of categorising films for different kinds of audiences, it is imperative to have a separate certification for young adults. “We have worked out the nitty-gritty of introducing two more categories,” said she. “I do not agree with a blanket U certificate for every film. This will also provide relief to filmmakers who are the most affected by the certification. In a country where voting age is 18 and drinking age 21, why have a blanket ‘U’ rating?” Tagore added that, instead of courts adjudicating for every dispute relating to films, it might be a good idea to have a special tribunal dedicated to this, “Not only will it save a lot of time, but producers will also have a one-stop point.”
Back to theatre
Age has not mellowed him. Actor Naseeruddin Shah continues to be as critical of the film industry as he was years ago. While rumours abound that he is quitting commercial cinema for good, Shah does not confirm or deny rumours. He said it was a known fact that, for him “Theatre is more exciting than cinema.” In any case, Shah added, he had almost given up hoping that some great films will be made. “Theatre is what I enjoy most; I need to focus more on that. I have had my fill of films.” He added that he was losing hope that good films would ever be made. For every good director were 10 wanting to make “nonsensical” films and making them too. “More strength to them, but I don’t see great movies emerging just yet,” he said.
Willing to experiment
He’s the Johnny come lately of Hindi cinema. For actor Arjun Rampal success has been slow and sweet. “I am not into slotting films. It is the role that matters and, whatever film I take up, it is a challenge to me.” He added that people who had seen his work recently were now convinced that he would be able to handle and do justice to other roles. “I am enjoying all my films. The important thing is to accept challenging roles and surprise everyone including myself,” said Rampal. He said he had always looked forward to films with strong subjects. “The roles can and should be diverse- they could be docu-dramas or commercial films. I am okay with both and am willing to experiment.”