Sharmila denies censoring Jessica, Kashmir films

Actor Sharmila Tagore. File photo  

Taking exception to film directors and producers announcing to the world that their films were censored or “banned” when the Central Board of Film Certification had taken no such decision, CBFC chairperson Sharmila Tagore said this sort of misplaced criticism was especially unfortunate given her efforts to make the certification process more proactive.

Asked why the CBFC had deleted a scene and beeped a word from No One Killed Jessica, despite certifying it ‘Adults Only,' and why it had “banned” Ashvin Kumar's documentary Inshallah, Football, Ms. Tagore said both claims were false.

“Not true”

“I don't know why the director said this. We've kept No One Killed Jessica exactly as it is, we liked it so much, we did not cut a single frame,” the CBFC chair said. The deletions were made for a promo that was intended to be screened on television, where adult material is not allowed, she said. “I don't know whether the director confused this or the media. But the reports are not true.”

As for the documentary on Kashmir, the review committee (RC) in Mumbai, which saw the documentary following the examining committee (EC) thumbs down, also wanted to refuse it a certificate, Ms. Tagore told The Hindu. “But the officer in-charge, CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur, who also was at the screening, saw nothing wrong with it and felt it should go to another RC. So I have used my prerogative as chairperson to set up another RC for the film,” she added.

Facebook message

On Thursday, Mr. Ashvin Kumar, whose 2004 short film, Little Terrorist, was nominated for the Oscars, posted a message on his Facebook page saying: “Indian censor board bans my film Inshallah, Football. Reason: it is critical of the Indian government. I am awaiting a written/formal confirmation.” Ms. Tagore said this was not true as any decision would only be taken after the second RC, which she has called for.

I&B Ministry sources said the problem with the CBFC's committees is that many of the nominated members are either related to government officials like police officers or have a conservative outlook. The sources said that a documentary always represents the point of view of its director and the fact that there may be views in the film that are critical of the government can hardly constitute grounds for denying it a certificate. In the case of the Kashmir documentary, they added, there is nothing the protagonists say on screen that is not regularly published in newspapers and magazines in India.

Asked about another film of Mr. Kumar, Dazed in Doon, Ms. Tagore said the CBFC's EC had cleared it subject to a proviso that the filmmaker submit an affidavit that he is the “sole owner of the property” or a no-objection certificate from Doon School. The school, which commissioned the film for its 75th anniversary, is in a dispute with Mr. Kumar over the final version. It says the version it cleared is very different from the version Mr. Kumar screened at the school's celebrations.

Ms. Tagore said the headmaster had recently written to the I&B Secretary asserting that Doon was a co-producer.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 12:46:00 AM |

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