NEW DELHI: With controversies surrounding the censor board, the government hinted that radical changes in the certification process may be announced in the next a few days. The changes could relate to recommendations of the Benegal committee which said films not be cut but given appropriate certificates.
The hint to this effect came from Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley who said movie certification norms have to be liberal and "some very radical changes" will be announced over the next few days. His views assume significance in wake of film Udta Punjab as makers of the film and Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nahalini were involved in unseeming public fight.
Reacting to the controversy Jaitley said, "I won't say its overboard. I don't know this case because I have not seen this film in question." Referring to the changes studied by the government, the minister added, "There is a well documented report by Shyam Benegal, the first part which has come to me which is under consideration. Over the next few days we are going to announce some very radical changes in that."
Speaking during a function organised by a TV channel, Jaitley on the current row over film said, "I think that we are overstating it because at the end of the day you have a Board which takes a view which may be a little conservative view but then at the appeal tribunal with an appeal it can get disposed off. My experience has been almost everything then gets cleared."
In message that would have salutary effect, minister added, "For instance I look at the big picture and the big picture is a Certification Board, we popularly call it Censor Board and you have the appeal tribunal. Now, whenever you have a problem at the level of the first body, people go to the next slab and almost in 99 per cent of the cases, with or without some changes it gets cleared by the next body."
"You will probably have a system where you will have to have a certificate. The correct word is certification and not censorship. Certification norms will have to be liberal," Jaitley said.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court asked the Censor Board to explain why it is insisting on deletion of Punjab signboard in film "Udta Punjab" even as the film body insisted that the 13 changes suggested by its Revising Committee were justified and proper. A bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari was hearing a petition filed by Phantom Films, producer of 'Udta Punjab', which is aggrieved by an order of the Revising Committee of the Board that suggested changes in the film before its release on June 17.
Justice Dharmadhikari compared drug-themed 'Udta Punjab' with another film released earlier titled "Go, Goa, Gone" saying in that movie the state of Goa is shown as a place where people go to socialise in parties and also take banned drugs. "If Goa can be shown as a place of drug abuse in that film, what is wrong if Punjab is shown in Udta Punjab?" asked the judge.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) lawyer argued that the order of the Revising Committee suggesting 13 changes in the film was not arbitrary and the committee had applied its mind while making these suggestions.