Censor board should not have political appointees: Bharathiraja

The veteran Tamil filmmaker wrote to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting saying that people “directly or indirectly” affiliated with political parties should not be examining films at Central Board of Film Certification

Updated - May 16, 2024 05:31 pm IST

Published - May 15, 2024 09:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Veteran Tamil filmmaker P. Bharathiraja.

Veteran Tamil filmmaker P. Bharathiraja. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Veteran Tamil filmmaker P. Bharathiraja warned the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in a February letter that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) should not appoint politically affiliated people to its advisory panels. Mr. Bharathiraja was writing to the Ministry in his capacity as the president of the Tamil Film Active Producers Association (TFAPA).

In the letter, obtained by The Hindu, Mr. Bharathiraja said, “We recommend that to maintain neutrality and objectivity of the board, a member of the advisory panel [both in examining committee and revising committee] should not be affiliated to any political party, directly or indirectly, as it is bringing in a bias during the certification process otherwise.”

He added, “A board member appointed must be a neutral person, eminent and known for his achievements in writing, … filmmaking, film production or in any important field of film production, literature or arts. Businesspersons or persons with political affiliation should be avoided as a member.”

In response to a proposal in the draft Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024 that applicants should not be involved when a censor board panel is watching a movie, Mr. Bharathiraja said this would “totally affect the entire process of film certification,” and insisted that filmmakers should be allowed to discuss changes with the panel immediately after the screening.

Tatkal censorship

The TFAPA letter also opposed the proposal for an expedited film certification programme of three working days, arguing that CBFC regional offices were “working professionally” and “completing the examination process within a week” of producers submitting their work for consideration. If at all such a tatkal censorship scheme is implemented, Mr. Bharathiraja said, it should cost twice, not thrice, as much as the usual fee.

The TFAPA added that certification procedures must be completed expeditiously for films that were dubbed in multiple languages, instead of producers having to wait for dubbed versions of a film all over again. 

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