‘Don’t Summarily Reject Films,’ Certification Appellate Tribunal Tells CBFC

The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal has advised the CBFC to reconsider certifying movies that were willing to accept cuts and additions.

Central Board of Film Certification Chairperson, Pahlaj Mihalani Credit: PTI

Central Board of Film Certification chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has advised ​the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to not “summarily reject” the certification for a film if it is “capable of receiving certification with certain cuts, deletions, modifications or additions”.

The observation was made when Khalid Kidwai, the director of Rambhajjan Zindabad, made an appeal against the CBFC’s refusal to certify the film. The film, now to be known as Omprakash Zindabad, is a tribute to veteran actor Om Puri. The film was his last one before he passed away.

The FCAT noted that most appellants complain the CBFC didn’t given them a chance to make the required changes. “We would recommend to the CBFC that if a movie examined by it is capable of receiving certification with certain cuts, deletions, modifications and/or additions in the disclaimer, then the CBFC may consider apprising the appellant of the same. Such an approach would save the appellants and the film producer avoidable expense and appeal being preferred before the FCAT, which of late have shown a rising trend,” the FCAT said.

It also observed that “the producer or applicant for certification would also have the benefit of receiving relief in the first instance itself. We would commend the adoption of above approach by the CBFC.”

About its order on the film 1946 Calcutta Killings, the FCAT said “if only a few essential voluntary cuts or changes are required, then the same are directed without remanding or relegating the appellant to approach the CBFC.”

The FCAT, however, said that “in a situation like the present one, where despite two viewings on account of the theme, presentation and depiction and the dialogues, portions of the film require revision, then it is for the appellant to revisit the entire film taking a cue from voluntary cuts made.” In such a case, the movie would be required to be resubmitted to the CBFC for fresh certification.

“Moreover, it is only fair that when drastic changes are to be made in the movie, the certification authority namely the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has a fresh look at the reworked and revised film,” the FCAT said. The tribunal also noted that the appellant would have the liberty to avail of appellate remedy, if required.

The CBFC had denied certification to as many as 77 films in 2015-16, up 64% from the previous year. For the year 2015-16, 49 out of 77 films challenged the censor board’s decision in the tribunal. Earlier this year, filmmaker Prakash Jha’s Lipstick Under My Burkha was refused certification for being “lady oriented and full of abusive words and audio pornography”. It was later cleared for release by the FCAT who quoted, “There cannot be any embargo on a women-oriented film or one containing sexual fantasies and expression of the inner desires of women”.

The Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Haraamkhor was also refused certification by the CBFC for being “too provocative”. The FCAT not only reversed the board’s decision but also said that the film could be used for “furthering a social message and warning the girls to be aware of their rights”.

In a music video featuring a homosexual couple, for the song ‘Miss You’, the CBFC had ruled that ten seconds – featuring two men in bed wearing shorts – must be cut from the video. The FCAT overturned the CBFC’s order, saying that those ten seconds were “intrinsic” to the point of the video.

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