Ban on cuss words in films withdrawn

‘If it is unchallenged, a day will come when half of the theatre screen will carry statutory warnings instead of the film’

Updated - April 02, 2016 12:52 pm IST

Published - February 24, 2015 03:19 am IST - MUMBAI:

Following severe criticism and taunts for introducing a list of cuss words and phrases to be banned from films, the Central Board of Film Certificate has cancelled the controversial decision, sources told The Hindu on Monday.

Although there was no official word on this, highly-placed sources confirmed that in the newly constituted statutory board’s first meeting, chairman Pahlaj Nihalani was grilled by other members who were not in agreement with his unilateral decision to issue the circular.

In a heated meeting, the board members conveyed to Mr. Pahalani that releasing such a list was not his sole prerogative and needed approval from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

In a circular sent out to CBFC regional offices (ROs) two weeks ago, Mr. Nihalani had listed words and phrases he felt were “objectionable and abusive,” and needed to be deleted from films.

Soon after, Ashok Pandit, a board member, caused some embarrassment to Mr. Pahlani when he publicly censured the circular terming it “against the freedom and creative liberty of a filmmaker.”

The decision continued to come under severe criticism from artists. Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra on Monday said the Censor Board’s decision was nothing but an exhibition of power.

“If this goes unchallenged, soon a day will come when half of the theatre screen will carry statutory warnings instead of showing the film,” Mr. Chopra said.

Director Anurag Kashyap said such restrictions will ‘literally kill’ the experience of watching the film.

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