DISAPPOINTED AND DISGUSTED with Shyam Benegal Committees suggestion

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Posted: 7 years ago

This whole week has been about Udta Punjab and how the Central Board of Film Certification, whose main role is certify the film, had ordered the makers to censor out nearly 94 scenes from the film. I was disappointed that a certification body was asking a film to be censored. Ever since filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani, the so-called Modi Bhakt' wanted to purify Indian cinema and under his regime, swear words and romantic scenes were told to be cut without proper reasons or explanations. While many filmmakers bowed down to his decision, many stood up against him. Over the past year and half, the filmmakers of India have been trying to tell the government to change the existing certification policy for a better cinema experience for people as well as some relief for them.

And they thought they won the battle when a special panel - the Shyam Benegal Committee was formed to make recommendations and draft a new system of rules for certification in India. We hoped better sense would prevail with this new non-political body. But one look at few of the recommendations by the SBC and I have to say that I am utterly disappointed, shocked, disgusted this sh*tty piece of recommendation. Some of the suggestions made by this new body are so ABSURD that you will not know if you should laugh or cry or may be do both at the same time.

Apart from the A rating, the Adult with Caution or A/C will be introduced for films with excessive adult content. While this is a good move in itself, the condition that it has kept for the screening of such movies is rather shocking. Shyam Benegal revealed that films with the A/C' rating will have restricted viewing as they can't be screened at cinema halls located near residential areas. He said, "We do not want to deny the filmmakers the right to screen their movies. When you do that, the movies go underground. An A/C movie can be shown in red light districts or other non-residential areas."

OMFG! Was that just a very rude and an absolutely irrational suggestion to me or is it just weird that we are typecasting people who live in these areas? Ok, so if I am 23 year old and I have never been to a red light area or I don't wish to go to such a place, I'll still have to walk through these lanes to watch a film like Udta Punjab? (Yeah, according to CBFC Udta Punjab has too much adult content)

And what if my sister wants to see the film or my parents too do not mind watching this movie either? Will they also have to be embarrassed that I take them along? And we have nothing against these areas, but it's kind of awkward to be visiting such places coz of a movie. And more than that is Mr Shyam Benegal's committee turning a moral police and labelling the people who live in these areas as people without morals? Ohh, how can I forget that such places will attract some very shady men, which means that ladies will have to refrain from watching a film like Udta Punjab fearing for their safety.

Now, some may argue that there might be cinemas in non-residential places too. But, where are such places? Malls don't qualify as they are filled with families. So industrial areas or very far off isolated places will be where we will have to go for seeing movies. Plus how many such places have cinemas? Very few. That means a film like Udta Punjab having such a huge starcast likeShahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor will manage to have only 5-10 screens or more in a city like Mumbai. Wahh, that means films will not make money and the industry will bomb badly!

Is this what you and your esteemed panelists want Mr Shyam Benegal? Tell us coz we are open for dialogue before you bring such ridiculous rules into the country! Why don't you just have an A/C rating where people above 18 years go into the cinema and watch the film on their own risk, without putting restrictions on the place where films can be screened.

While a few pointers of the recommendations are good, for example, apart from the current U category, the committee has suggested two categories in U/A " U/A 12+ and U/A 15+ (similar to PG rating in USA), which I believe was really needed in India. However, the A/C category is really absurd.

We were very hopeful Mr Benegal when you came out in support of Udta Punjab. But such ridiculous rules are no good! Please don't do this to such a thriving industry where few filmmakers make movies that challenge the society and have art to educate, entertain and create awareness and not just make money! And most importantly do not be another Pahlaj Nihalani by promoting some really nasty and regressive ideas.



Edited by Shy_ - 7 years ago

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