NEW DELHI: You might have shivered in a queue and spent Rs 500 to buy a ticket for watching latest Bollywood blockbuster in a multiplex. But, some of the Delhi’s ruling elite neither pays nor shivers or sweats for they watch films in a cosy auditorium. Thanks to exploitative indulgence of Censor Board’s babus, who have been managing free customised screening for the privileged few for years now.
Disgraced Censor Board CEO Rakesh Kumar, who was appointed by the previous UPA regime was arrested by the CBI last year in an alleged graft case to clear a Chhattisgarhi film, and even his predecessors had ensured that the latest releases of Bollywood were screened only for the who’s who of bureaucracy every Sunday.
The Bollywood producers or their assistants armed with a DVD or reel of a film released on Friday would be summoned to the Siri Fort auditorium (hall no 2) to screen the film for bureaucrats. This informal screening was institutionalised with the active assistance of babus of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, raising several embarrassing questions on official collective misuse of power.
Why would producers, mostly based out of Mumbai, who just a day ago released a film hedging hundreds of crores, fly to Delhi to show the movie absolutely free to power bureaucrats? Is there a quid pro quo since the Censor Board which comes under the ministry certifies the films for release in theatres? Who pays for the auditorium fee of Rs 22,000 per screening? Why is a mail circulated to all bureaucrats in advance sharing with them the schedule of the next movie show? Are these formal arrangements with the approval of the government?
A government source said that no such formal arrangement has been approved by the government. However, it became a part of the system as nobody questioned this unethical practice.
Top bureaucrats, be they from CBI, CAG, Central Ministries like Food processing, coal and mines, health ministry etc were invited through email, and informed about the timing and rating (A or U),” the source said.