Films with explicit content may get screen space

New Delhi: I & B Minister Arun Jaitley is presented the report on Cinematograph Act/ Rules from the members of Shyam Benegal Committee in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo (PTI4_26_2016_000257A)   | Photo Credit: PTI

Adult cinema in designated theatres after 11 p.m. and a distinction between adult films and adult films which can be exhibited with caution are some of the recommendations of the Shyam Benegal committee constituted by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on January 1, to suggest ways to certify films.

The panel submitted its report to the Ministry with Mr. Benegal clarifying that his panel is not in favour of censoring films. “Our job was to suggest certification of films in line with some of the best practices followed,” Mr. Benegal told The Hindu.

The announcement of setting up of the panel and the work it was tasked with came in the backdrop of controversial decisions of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), headed by Pahlaj Nihalani, particularly his role in censoring films. Significantly, the panel has recommended that the CBFC chief only “plays the role of a guiding mechanism for the CBFC, and not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of certification of films.”

Mr. Benegal also clarified that the recommendation of allowing the exhibition of adult cinema in designated halls, especially with explicit sex and violence as content, was a disincentive, as it would reduce the number of prints that can be exhibited. “This proviso should not be seen as an encouragement to make films with gratuitous violent content.” Mr. Benegal also clarified that exhibition of films shown in film festivals would not be subject to certification.

The touchstone for such films will be the provision 5 (B) (1) of the Cinematograph Act. This provision states: A film shall not be certified for public exhibition if, in the opinion of the authority competent to grant the certificate, the film or any part of it is against the interests of [the sovereignty and integrity of India] the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offence.

The committee has broadly tried to categorise films according to the viewers in the following categories. U, U/A, (15+), 18 (A) and A with caution and has taken care to ensure that children are protected from violent and adult content. Mr. Benegal also clarified that his panel did not look into content on TV and online.

The panel initially comprised Mr. Benegal, film-maker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, adman Piyush Pandey. It was made more representative with the inclusion of actor Kamal Haasan, film journalist Bhawana Somayaa, and film-maker Gautam Ghose following criticism over its composition.

The committee has sought some time to give recommendations on issues relating to clearan-ces to be obtained from the Animal Welfare Board under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 12:40:48 AM |

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