New film classification system to replace censorship: Samson

Mumbai: Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Leela Samson Tuesday promised to bring in more transparency in the film certification process and said a new film classification system, instead of the current censorship one, would be in place.

She was speaking at an interactive session on cinema and certification titled `Samvaad CBFC 2011` organised by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

Ramesh Sippy, maker of India`s most revered classic `Sholay`, said: "The original ending of `Sholay` had Thakur killing Gabbar, but breaking down after that, wondering what purpose his vendetta had served. However, censor board asked me to change the ending despite my pleadings. This changed the whole meaning of the film."

He was recalling his interactions with the board.

The day-long session, a brainchild of Samson, was attended by the biggest, most established as well as the new band of filmmakers in Bollywood, the world`s largest film industry.

It also served as a platform for producers and directors to vent their frustration against and outdated film censorship regime in India.

Bollywood not only came in full force to attend the event, but spoke in one voice against censorship and the need to overhaul it to reflect the changing morality of the nation, as well as new technology.

Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan said: "Of my 35 years of filmmaking, I have spent 20 years in court fighting censorship."

Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan inaugurated a new e-governance portal that would allow filmmakers to submit their applications online.

Director Anurag Kashyap, while seeking more autonomy for the CBFC, said that he was unable to reach his full potential as a filmmaker because of censorship.

"Indians consider me a dark filmmaker, but when I chat with global filmmakers they ask me why I am so mild and why I restrain myself. How do I explain to them why I can`t do what I really want to do?" he said, citing the example of a bold Indian film called "Gandu" which is garnering rave reviews globally but is unlikely to see a release in India because of its sexuality subject.

Mahesh Bhatt said: "To be fair to the censor board, it has changed a lot over the time since I first started making films."

Pankaja Thakur, CEO, CBFC, in her concluding remarks, highlighted the difficulty of their job in a nation of such diversity.

She said that the board deliberately called people who had the most problems with the censor board because they wanted to hear them and frame a more evolved method of film classification, instead of the current censorship one.

The event, attended by industry stalwarts like Yash Chopra and Shyam Benegal, ended up being a show of strength of an otherwise internally squabbling Bollywood.


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