A committee headed by a retired High Court Judge will comprehensively review the functioning of the Central Board of Film Certification(CBFC)and the existing Cinematograph Act to avoid controversies like the banning of films by the state governments.
The move by the Union Information &Broadcasting (I&B) comes close on the heels of the “Viswaroopam” fiasco that pitted the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK Government in Tamil Nadu against the CBFC, which is directly under the Central government.
The two sides had sparred over their respective jurisdiction to grant the nod for the movie featuring Kamal Hasan, which was also produced by the actor. Although the movie will now be released in Tamil Nadu from February 7, after Hasan agreed to a few cuts, the unsavoury controversy had brought to the fore as to how an innocuous issue like a film could strain the relations between the Centre and the state.
Express had reported on February 1 that the Union I&B Ministry was planning to set up a committee to review the 60-year-old law, whose provisions had ceased to be relevant as the entertainment industry had undergone a sea change.
The Ministry headed by Manish Tewari on Monday announced that an eight-member committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, a former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, would review the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
The other members of the committee include Lalit Bhasin,chairperson of FilmCertification Appellate Tribunal; Sharmila Tagore, former chairperson, CBFC; Javed Akhtar, popular poet-lyricist and Rajya Sabha MP; Leela Samson, chairperson, CBFC; L Suresh, secretary, South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce; Rameeza Hakim, Supreme Court lawyer and Raghvendra Singh, Joint Secretary (Films) in the ministry. “(The)Terms of reference (ToR) of the committee on cinematographic framework give latitude to review every aspect of certification process holistically and ensure integrity,” Tiwari tweeted.
The panel will also study the amendments proposed in the new Bill drafted by the ministry. According to the draft Cinematograph Bill, 2013, two more categories of film certification needed to be introduced. The new categories were for the 12-plus and the 15-plus age, besides the existing four categories.
This was to provide relief to the film directors and the producers who often found their films labelled under the “adult” category.
Another significant mandate of the committee is to study the requirement of the special categories of film certification for telecasting and broadcasting a film on TV and the radio. This comes in wake of the recent controversy involving films like “Dirty Picture”, carrying an adult certificate, whose initial release on a private channel was stalled even though it had made several cuts.