Prasoon Joshi on Cinematograph Act: 'It's a defined canvas but I hope to paint it well'
Prasoon Joshi, since his appointment as the new Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Chairperson, has steered clear of any controversy. It is both refreshing, and unusual, given that he heads a body that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, courtesy the former chief Pahlaj Nihalani.
In an interview to The Indian Express, Joshi clarifies that while he will not act as a moral police, he will ensure that the content under his jurisdiction remains palatable to the lesser empowered minds and the more vulnerable ends of society, such as children.
"I believe in the power of informed choice. And for that to come into play it’s important that there are no gaps in audience awareness and information given to them about the kind of content being presented. Accountability and responsibility should be from all ends if we have to progress as a society," says Joshi, hammering home a crucial point that certification, devoid of any form of censorship, will only work if the audience exercises restraint and not watch a film they do not fall under the given age bracket.
He does admit that the archaic Cinematograph Act, 1952 will prove to be a limiting factor in the CBFC's scope but he is confident of functioning smoothly within the framework. "It’s a defined canvas but one hopes to paint it well. All I can say is that I will try and bring in my sensibility and experience on board and sincerely make efforts to bring about more points of view. And I will learn as things evolve. It’s not about one person, it’s important that all stakeholders of this ecosystem collaborate to move forward."
Through these words, Joshi provides a ray of hope to not only filmmakers but also audiences for encouraging the freedom of expression while taking into account the various restrictions that come along with it, as stated in the Indian Constitution.
He also clarifies that his role will not revolve around micromanaging each aspect of the CBFC's functioning but he will merely act as a guiding light for the body whenever it is in crisis. "(My role is) to be more of a sensor according to changing times as well as not lose moorings in the velocity of change," he says, as per the same report.
As Joshi aptly points out, his position as the CBFC chief is bound to be more of a responsibility than an authority. But given his clarity of thoughts and wide body of work, he does not seem to be the one who gets buoyed down by challenges. In fact, the fine line between risking negative influence of cinema and upholding creative freedom is a tightrope he would love to tiptoe.