We face flak of decisions by filmmakers, government: CBFC chief

New Delhi: Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Leela Samson said Monday that the board neither makes guidelines nor films, but still they are at the receiving end from both filmmakers and the government.

"There is lot of speculation regarding CBFC`s ideology and motives in the film industry. This has of course been fueled by vested interests and shortsightedness," Samson said at the CII Media and Entertainment Summit 2012 here.

"Producers tend to misread our signals because of their own anxiety and of course the history of censorship in this country, and government`s knee-jerk reactions in the past. These prejudices are likely to endure no matter how much we become open and transparent," she added.

Samson said, while the filmmakers have the power to make films, the government has the power to ban it without even consulting anyone.

"As happened in smoking ban. It was not even done by the ministry of information and broadcasting. It was done by ministry of health. They (health ministry) did it without consulting anybody but the execution of it was left to CBFC," she said.

"We take the flak of decisions taken by both the government and the filmmakers. While we have nothing to do with it, we are being made responsible for it.

"This is the most liberal board that we have had and it remains committed towards a positive approach to film certification with minimum interference in creative freedom. But it is restricted by certain guidelines which we are bound to follow," she added.

Samson was speaking during a panel discussion on film and TV censorship in the country. Apart from her, the panel also included Shyam Benegal, Sudhir Mishra, Jahnu Barua, Gauri Shinde, Shabana Azmi and Mukesh Bhatt.

Talking about the controversy surrounding late night slots on TV for A-certificate films, Samson said: "I take huge exception to filmmakers running to the press to run us down, rather than speak to us. We ought to be in dialogue.

"We would voluntarily agree to the late night slots, as a lot of new filmmakers with mature fare will not be able to appear on TV."

She said they have proposed to form a joint committee to look after the issue of films getting late night slots on TV.

"The filmmakers are now ready to mutilate their films to make it suitable for TV viewing, but we don`t want to do this. We have proposed to the government, something that they didn`t overtly support, to form a joint committee comprising representatives from the film industry and CBFC be set up.

"It will help frame the guidelines for late night slots. I hope this joint committee comes into play soon," Samson added.


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