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Are you against movie censorship?

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If your answer to this question is yes, then you’re thinking is in line with some of India’s cult Movie Directors who think that censorship causes Films to lose ‘real’ touch. Very recently Anurag Kashyap said this- “There shouldn’t be any censorship on making a film. We are still very conservative about the term sex,””I am trying to push my boundaries so that everything in the film looks real.”

All this looks fine from one angle- “Freedom to speak” is what every publisher, writer, director is looking for in this World. But this world has its own rules, if one is in a Socialist country like China almost everything said and done on media is subjected to Govt’s scrutiny but what if you’re in a democracy like India or US?

Let’s look at this from both point of views. Censorship is important for rating films, there may be films which are not suitable for minors. But there are some movies which are not suitable for every type of audience and just giving them an “A” sign will not help audience clearly identify their type. For e.g. movies like “Omkara”- its not a film which one adult can watch with another adult (senior) family member in it’s original form. If some scenes are not removed such movies can face revolt from various organizations. Now that’s exactly my second important point- if censorship is not done there can be many sensitive organizations/political groups which will try to damage theatres and hurt audience. You can be in a democratic country but mindset of people here is not as if they will accept anything and everything. Just imagine the kind of resistance “Jodha Akbar” faced in Rajasthan for incorrectly using Jodha’s name in the movie. Now that would sound plain stupid on any given day but its a fact.

But then censorship and banning are two different terms- sometimes the scenes are cut to an extent that it makes the movie irrelevant or soul-less. As Anurag Kashyap puts it- “‘Death of A President’ was made with President George Bush still alive, but we can’t introduce a scene where four people are chatting over tea and cursing politician Raj Thackeray,” .

In my opinion Movie censorship should not be under Ministry’s control because it directly influences the media. More than language or sensual issues the scenes get banned because of political issues, as they show one or the other politician in bad light. ‘Fire’ and ‘Hava Aney Dey” were completely banned in India after their release due to political reasons.

It should be an autonomous board and should have judges from various organizations/groups who can take responsibility on behalf of their community and can ensure that movie runs without any disruptions.

What say? Do you also suggest an autonomous body for India’s censor board or do you think that its our responsibility to decide what to watch and what not to?

  1. Sunil Mathew says

    its totally foolish. it kills creativity.

  2. Suraj Kumar Rout says

    ok ok

  3. Arvind says

    There needs to be a “rating” agency that determines what rating a movie gets, maybe they need to step it up a notch and describe what they found in the movie that determined the particular movie they gave for it-these are people who are paid to do a job and their job is just to sit and watch movies…they can afford to do a bit more than just put a letter rating on it, right?

    On the other hand, I respectfully disagree with the argument that the censor board needs to monitor movies to determine if they would offend religious/political/caste groups (is there a difference between the 3?). It would be a classic case of shooting the mailman instead of dealing with the core of the problem.
    Again, case in point, Hey Ram, IMO, one of the best made movies, that glorified Gandhi (if someone cared to watch it till the end), but stupid Congressmen were up in arms, breaking down theaters…all in the name of Gandhi. Shame on us as a nation for that. Now, if someone had banned the movie in India because it might have offended Gandhi’ites it would have been a stupid decision and we would have lost a gem of a movie!
    Let’s lock up those who engage in vandalism against art, let us not lock up artistic expression!

  4. Vishal Sanjay says

    Even I agree with Rabi, rating should be clear and accurate, maybe there should be some restrictions and rules on rating, but censorship should not be allowed unless the movie really needs it. Producers loose a lot of money on this, the movie ‘Hava Aney Dey’ was reduced to a 20 minute movie due to censorship, it was not released in India and producer had to bear a heavy loss.

  5. psycho says

    Aresistance following the incorrect use of Jodha’s name in a movie named “Jodha Akbar” is fine…but your point on omkara is wrong…Its an art ..We need to understand that….

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      I actually agree with Rabi’s point and example he gave aptly justifies it…Ratings for movies should be definitely there, but censorship of a movie is debatable. Art is extremely subjective. Something very wrong in one’s opinion may be the best piece of work for someone else !

  6. Vishal Sanjay says

    No theater has ever restricted me from watching adult movies, I’ve seen a lot with friends. The world film industry is growing, India is not able to keep up because of such restrictions. All this is because of the religious political parties and the rise of communalism.

    1. rabi gupta says

      There are 2-3 reasons for a movie to get censored- 1. Sensuous adult content, 2. Violence, 3. Horror. Now in all these cases the certification would be “A”, but to further investigate the content one need to have some kind of regulation. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you get to know about some scene which puts you in a humiliating situation, (coz its not US). Parents here don’t care much about a movie’s rating (point to be noted). So if a Movie like “Omkara” is a hit they would plan for a family trip to cinema without even knowing the content or caring about the certification. In such conditions I still feel that regulation should be there.

      1. Vishal Sanjay says

        The viewers should know what kind of movie it is and its rating, but the fact that they want to watch it or not depends on them. The theaters nor some political community can decide that. If the film maker feels that his movie has too much adult content and no one would want to see it, then its his choice to censor that.

        1. rabi gupta says

          Yea I very much agree to the fact that theaters and Political parties can’t decide what to watch, that’s why I said I’m against it in the post.

  7. Liju Philip says

    An independent board of ex-filmmakers, academics, intellectuals who have no backing of any politicial, religious or any other organisations should be a part of the ratings board.

    there should be no censor board, but a ratings board that will give a rating to the movie based on content. Its upto the people to decide whether to watch the movie or not.

    1. Madhav Shivpuri says

      Liju, while what you mention seems to be ideal but I don’t think it is possible to put together such a team.

      On the contrary, if you think of a parallel in the financial world think about how corporate bonds are rated by different rating agencies. CRISIL, ICRA etc in India could each give good, very safe, credit risk kind of ratings for the same bond issue. The buyer of the bond decides whether he believes and wants to follow the bond rating or does he still want to purchase the bond despite a poor rating. Similarly, put the movie out there to a representative audience who can give the ratings according to what ever parameters they set for themselves.

      The representative audience for rating can comprise of women’s groups, various religious groups, political groups, film makers etc., and they provide their individual ratings to the movie producer before the release of a movie. The same can be posted in front of cinema halls where people can asked to look them up before viewing the movie, or be shown before the movie begins. The ratings can also be displayed on the websites of these groups in a timely manner so that their followers can make the decision to watch a movie or not. That way there is no scope for politics or other interests to weigh down on the scenes etc.

      Regarding some adult content, at the entry gates to the cinema, id cards etc, could be checked to confirm age appropriateness. What do you think?

      1. rabi gupta says

        Hi Madhav,
        Some multiplexes do check I-Cards when they suspect that someone is minor, but its not the case with normal Cinema Halls (which usually earn money through black tickets). The idea of posting reviews in front of cinema halls is really an innovative one and can/should be considered by Govt.
        One of the other ideas can be to rate the trailers itself as they appear on TV. EVery trailer is rated by censor/rating board, but they are not shown on TV. If its done ppl would know beforehand whether to watch the Movie or not.

        1. Madhav Shivpuri says

          Rabi,
          I don’t know how comprehensive can trailers on TV be because the producers have to foot the advertising costs for this and so they may be tempted to show it really quickly or in small, unreadable font.

          People who want to watch something will always find a way. So it should not be aimed at preventing people from watching (except may be small children or teenagers) but provide disclosure in the various ratings received so that people do not watch content inappropriate to them. In other words – “Movie ratings governance” !

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