THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Thiruvananthapuram region of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which is already reeling under pressure due to shortage of members, is facing a fresh challenge from filmmakers who don’t follow the guidelines while submitting films to be censored.
Under the Cinematography Act 1952, which forms the basis for censoring, the board can take 21 days for censoring work.
Therefore, films should be submitted at least 21 days prior to the release date,during which the censor certificate should be issued. But in most cases, films are submitted hardly 2-3 days prior to the release date only.
When contacted, Jacob Abraham, the examining officer with the Thiruvananthapuram region of CBFC, said the norm of submitting the film for censoring is mentioned in the guidelines given to the board. “Though there is a rule, the certificates for the movies are usually given as soon as possible. If the producer of the movie could submit all the mandatory documents include identity proof, demand draft and affidavit on time, the board would arrange the sitting within two days,” he said.
But, since the total number of the board members has been reduced from the earlier 65 to a mere 10 members, it is difficult to convene a sitting all of a sudden.
As reported in these columns before, there are only two women members on the board and they have to attend all the sittings since a total of two members are must to be present for every sitting, as per the guidelines.
According to a source close to the Censor Board, the CBFC is approaching a crisis since bulk of the movies will soon be presented to the board for certification, as part of Onam/festival release, Indian Panorama selection and some other foreign film festivals.
“Since the appointment of the new members is getting delayed, the authorities have to take actions to solve this.
Either they should appoint new members as soon as possible, otherwise they should direct the filmmakers / producers to follow the norm that they should submit the movies 21 days prior to the release itself,” the source said. Otherwise,it would affect the release itself, the source added.
“The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has power to extend the tenure of the members. So that the ministry could take action to extend the term of ex-members who recently quit,” the source said.
When contacted, M Renjith, the general secretary of the Film Producers’ Association, said that it is difficult to follow the norm to submit the movie 21 days prior to the release date because of various constraints.
“It is hard to follow the norm of submitting the movie 21 days prior to its release date, as most movies are completed hardly a week before its release.
This norm incorporated in the law was made in 1952, when the number of movies made in a month was very less. Instead of insisting to this guideline, appointing of new members would be better to solve the issue,” said M Renjith.