Amid the raging controversy over the film 'Udta Punjab', the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Wednesday sought to make it clear that the government cannot interfere in the certification of a film and any grievance on the issue can be sorted out only by the appropriate tribunal.
Top sources in the I&B ministry also said that in view of frequent complaints about censorship vis-a-vis film certification, the central government will soon consolidate a new set of guidelines "if necessary" on the basic film certification process.
However, to the layman, all these bodies and these terms could as well read as Greek.
The process, an unclear as it may have been over all the outrage, is as follows: Films can be publicly shown in India only after they have been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification. The ratings are “U” (unrestricted public exhibition) and “A” (restricted to adult audiences) “UA” (unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children below the age of twelve) and “S” (restricted to specialised audiences).
If there is no consensus on a film within the CBFC, the chairperson can pass it on to a revising committee that watches the film for a second round of analysis. Further, if the makers are still not convinced, they can take their film to Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) headed by a retired judge.
The last step in this process is to approach the law, and in the case of Udta Punjab, the producers have moved Bombay High Court on the suggested cuts.
If you've had enough time to sink all that in, here's another baffling fact. The New Indian Express reports that Anurag Kashyap's directorial Raman Raghav 2.0 has been cleared by the FCAT without any cuts. This is a film that has violence, gore, sex, drugs (the very thing that started the whole Udta Punjab controversy) and a very twisted plot.
This is not to say that we aren't elated about Raman Raghav 2.0 having no cuts, but what's going on? Either the CBFC is really confused, or aren't in the mood for another fight, or there is actually some sort of political pressure on Udta Punjab that nobody is confirming.
Like Anurag Kashyap has said in a press conference on Wednesday, "the CBFC's job is to certify, not censor". Have they taken this all too seriously or too soon? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, we suggest that the number of procedures to get a certificate for a film be reduced by at least half.
(With inputs from IANS)