Censor Board- A dictatorship?

Themes of Indian films have undergone a serious transformation over the past decade. More and more films are being made to bring out the reality about an issue or to express an opinion, sometimes too bold, about it. Many believe that the films are the best torchbearers of ‘Right to speech’. But what needs to be checked is whether these films cross ‘the line’. The Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) makes sure they don’t.

The recent controversy related to Anurag Kashyap’s forthcoming film ‘Udta Punjab’ a drug theme drama have questioned the professionalism of the CBFC. The film was subjected to 89 cuts with respect to the theme and swear words. But what puzzles is the fact that whenever a film is made based on a true issue and carries the name of a state or a community not only becomes a specimen for censor operation but is dragged into media limelight. Films like ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Zila Ghaziabad’, and ‘Aligarh’ have all faced this problem.

The real question to be asked here is whether these films are censorable that the message that they tend to give gets blemished. The recent development that I have mentioned is the media war between Anuragh Kashyap co-producer of the film and the so called dictatorial like domination of the board CBFC. Name of the head of censor board. The cuts and the Korean comment made by the producer, allegations against CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal angle to this censoring in light of the upcoming Punjab state elections have made this a hot topic to be discussed the next few days. The entire film fraternity is backing the director of The Gangs of Wasseypur fame and are questioning the fact that why is there a need for such a harsh action on a film that is trying to bring some light into a social issue.

This makes the film to be watched in a way that it was not meant to be watched. I think the CBFC have been too strict. This is no exaggeration.  Over the years such events have been occurring. Film viewers who have watched both the censored and uncensored film have said that censoring parts are critically relevant and editing them have made the plot weaker and does not bring out the message accurately.

This blog is written by Salman Shiras, Sem II, MBA FA

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