Certify films, don't censor them, court tells CBFC

The Bombay High Court on Friday told the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that the board's power is to only certify movies for public exhibition and not censor them.

A division bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi said this while hearing the producers of the film, "Udta Punjab", on the 13 cuts suggested by the board.

The court said that if people do not like something they have a remote and that the CBFC should only certify a film and not censor it.

Among the many suggestions made by the review committee of the CBFC were the removal of the ‘sign board of Punjab’ in the beginning of the movie and the deletion of expletives.

On a scene where actor Shahid Kapoor is shown urinating on a crowd, the producers agreed to remove it.

The High Court while agreeing with the suggestion of the CBFC for chopping this scene in the drug-themed film, at the same time, disapproved of it asking for deletion of references to “Punjab“.

It also asked the producers to tone down expletives and vulgar scenes as these alone cannot make a film work.

After hearing the CBFC, the court told the producers "you may not rely on expletives to show the frustration of your character."

To this, senior counsel Ravi Kadam, appearing for Phantom films, said 34 films made in the past had used expletives explicitly. The court then said may be the board realised that they have gone too far with it.

The film deals with drug abuse in Punjab and the review committee has said that ‘The theme, presentation, language and visuals of the film are not suitable for non-adults.’

The hearing was wrapped up with Mr Kadam citing Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox's speech that said no government must dictate what it's people can hear or say.

The court posted the case for June 13 for orders.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 1:58:21 AM |

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