Doing away with censorship? After Udta Punjab, Black Friday, other rows, proposed changes reflect mature approach

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August 22, 2016 6:20 AM

The Central Board of Film Certification, or the Censor Board has often been in thick controversy over its censorship decisions.

The Central Board of Film Certification, or the Censor Board has often been in thick controversy over its censorship decisions. If it was Udta Punjab that faced the Board’s ire earlier this year, it has been films like Black Friday, Gulabi Aaina, Bandit Queen, etc, in the past. Thus, the government mulling over, as per a report in The Indian Express, amending the Cinematograph Act to do away with censorship and introduce nuanced film certification seems to be the right move.

The proposed amendments call for content-based certification and no deletions of visuals or dialogues. Film certification is to be changed from the earlier system of U (unrestricted), U/A (meaning parental guidance required) and A (solely for adults) to a system that is based on certiyfing with suitability of the viewer’s age and maturity in mind. India could soon have the U/A category broken up into U12+ (unrestricted for viewers aged 12 years and above) and U15+, and the A category broken up into A and A+ (for extreme violence or sex scenes) certification. There is also the proposal to include representation from the National Commission of Women and the National Council for the Protection of Child Rights and representatives of non-Hindi language film industries in the board. These proposals would surely unshackle film-makers of a regime where a film doesn’t get certification—and hence can’t be exhibited—or gets a certificate restricting viewership if the Censor Board cuts are not complied with. Given how you can find uncut versions of nearly any film on the internet, censoring anyways makes little sense. And with maturing audiences, the decision of what is appropriate viewing is best left to them.

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