I don’t think the Censor Board looks at a horror film with a different yardstick. If there are guidelines for television content it is because children are also watching the programmes. The world of reality and the world of creation should not be put together
— Kannan Iyer, film-maker
How often have we witnessed tantriks beating up mentally ill patients in the belief that they are possessed by evil spirits (Sridevi in Chaalbaaz), exorcism of spirits (Krishna Cottage and Raaz) and black magic (Raaz 3)? Interestingly the draft of the anti-black magic and superstition ordinance cleared by the Maharashtra state last month embodies these very points. Besides these, it also includes dispensing medical remedies with claims of assured fertility, sacrificing innocent animals to appease the Gods, men claiming to be possessed with divine power, things which are often depicted in our films.
So will the implementation of such a Bill affect Hindi films and television content in any way? “I have no idea what the Bill states, whether it is for depicting black magic and superstition in films, or practicing them in real life. I am presuming the Bill must be for the Aatmarams of the world,” says Vikram Bhatt, who has made several films in the supernatural genre like Raaz, 1920, Haunted and Raaz 3. “I don’t know if the Bill prohibits film-makers from depicting superstitious beliefs. Like you cannot murder someone in real life, but that does not mean you cannot show a murder being committed in a movie. I don’t know if there are any such rules for film-makers as we are governed by Censor Board guidelines and there are rules we have to adhere to in what we show in films,” he adds.
Seconding him is Mukesh Bhatt, producer of films like Raaz and Raaz 3. “The Censor Board does not allow anything which can be detrimental for the audience. Our movies (Vishesh Films) do not propagate superstitions and are based on supernatural and bhooth preth. That’s because if we believe in God, then we also also believe in the shaitan,” stated Bhatt.
Kannan Iyer, who made Ek Thi Daayan,