Under Prasoon Joshi, as much as 67.19 per cent films were asked to delete scenes before getting an exhibition certificate in 2018-19.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) ordering to tailor movie scenes has increased in the last five years. In an RTI filed by a Pune-based activist, it was revealed that the number of films that have to undergo CBFC cuts has increased drastically in comparison to the last five years. So, if a film is submitted for approval of the film board it is more likely to suffer cuts in 2018-19 than it would have five years ago. The data obtained using RTI suggests that the Board under the Leela Samson ordered cuts only in 41.71 per cent movies that were submitted for certification but under the leadership of Prasoon Joshi the CBFC asked 67.19 per cent films to delete scenes before getting an exhibition certificate. According to the available data as much as 1,966 movies were awarded exhibition certificates by the film board in 2013-14, whereas in the year 2018-19, the number of movies that got the certificate for exhibition increased to 2,246.
According to an interesting report published in IE, the CBFC has been ordering cuts in more movies now than it did five years ago. The report suggested that the data which has been obtained through an RTI filed by activist Vihar Durve clearly shows a steady increase in the last five years in the number of films taking cuts before getting certified. According to the RTI data, as many as 820 films in 2013-14 were allowed exhibition after scene or dialogues were cut from them. In 2014-15 the number increased to 890 followed by 1,021 and 1,084 in the year 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively. Last year the number reached 1,127 and climber to 1,509 in 2018-19, which shows how CBFC has been gripping these work of arts under its authoritative clutch.
The film certification board, in the last five years, have seen significant changes and almost 3 directors changed during this duration. The post of director of CBFC is one with political significance and often causes controversy. In the last five years, it was headed by three different director, Danseuse Leela Samson who was in chair from May 2011 until she resigned in January 2015, followed by film producer Pahlaj Nihalani, who held the office from January 2015 till August 2017 and the current director of CBFC Prasoon Joshi who was appointed to office in August 2017 and is continuing his term of service.
The RTI activist, who dug out all the information said that “The manner in which CBFC works is very dubious and to bring some transparency it was necessary to dig out information and this is the reason why I have been filing RTIs and obtaining information since 2010. The latest petition was to know how the film certification business was carried out during the tenures of three different heads who are political appointees.”
Notably, CBFC has been in limelight, all these years for some or other reason and recently got whipped by Bombay High Court. The court said that CBFC is a certification board and not a censor board. The data shows how the interference of the CBFC has increased over the years.