NEW DELHI: In a bid to revamp the functioning of the censor board, which has been in controversies for applying mindless cuts to films, government-constituted panel headed by filmmaker Shyam Benegal has made key recommendations suggesting that the body should only certify films in different categories rather than apply cuts.
Benegal panel which submitted its report to the Information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday suggested four more categories for films.
"We are recommending that CBFC should not be using scissors on any film. We are suggesting that in addition to different classifications that we have - we should have two categories of U/A, one plus 12 years of age and one plus 15 years of age and two categories of adult, one is normal adult and another adult with caution," Benegal said.
Apart from Benegal, the panel includes actor Kamal Hassan, filmmaker Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra, Piyush Pandey, Goutam Ghose, Bhawana Somaaya and senior officials of the I&B ministry.
The committee, however, suggested that the Central Board of Film Certification can refuse certification if a film contains anything that contravenes the provisions of Section 5B (1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 or has stuff beyond the limits of the categories.
As per this section, a film shall not be certified if the competent authority feels that it or a part of it is against the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, decency or morality, or involves defamation or is likely to incite the commission of any offence.
As censor board chairmen have been involved in controversies for recommending cuts, the panel suggested that the chairman, should only play the role of a guiding mechanism for the CBFC, and not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of certification of films.
"Given these limited functions, the size of the board should be compact with one member representing each regional office. Therefore, the total composition of the board should not be more than nine members and one chairman," the panel has recommended.
Regarding the Regional Advisory Panel, the committee has laid down the criteria for appointments as per which women should have 50 per cent representation on each panel.
While the Benegal panel has given its recommendations on various aspects, it has sought some more time to give recommendations on issues related to clearances on animals and depiction of smoking scenes.
The panel has also suggested online submission of applications as well as simplification of forms and accompanying documentation. Recertification of a film for purposes of telecast on television or for any other purpose should be permitted, it has held. In order to preserve Indian cinema, the committee recommended every applicant be asked to deposit the Director's Cut in the NFAI for preservation of Indian cinema, instead of the certified version, in order to truly reflect the cinematic history of films.