Cinema and Censorship

On Friday, 4th August 2017 members of Cutting Edge Visionaries met for the first group discussion of the new academic year. The discussion was focused on Censorship of Cinema in India and its comparison with that of the other film industries.

The discussion was initiated with a thought that censorship captivates a movie’s idea within certain limits. It does not allow people to express their thoughts freely. Sometimes the board orders the filmmakers to remove many parts of the film that takes away the essence of the movie. Sometimes the message to be conveyed gets faded and it does not create the impact on the audience as it was meant to.

It was pointed out that what people call “Censor board” is actually the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Their work is actually to provide a certificate to the filmmakers for the public display of the film. Other most important task of the board is to categorize the film according to the content of the film and the age groups that could receive it without any harm.

Sometimes to earn more money, the film makers try to display some high brutal violence and some ill content that may not be perceived satisfactorily by certain people. Such graphic scenes are trimmed by the CBFC and in such way it can be helpful. One cannot directly attack on a certain group or cult, even some specific religion should not be directly disgraced on the name of entertainment. The CBFC looks after all these and takes necessary actions. It is not always that the board bans a movie because of the aggressive content. Certain movies having extreme violence are also released with an adult certification as long as it does not harm the religious beliefs of people. In a way the CBFC filters the movies and categorizes them for the public.

On the other hand, some great movies like “Lipstick under my Burkha” gets a ban. Cinema is all about the reflection of what is happening in the real world, how the society works and what needs to be improved. It feels like the film makers are being deprived of this and are in some way forced to produce the same kinds of drama films. Some members felt that the reason behind this could be corruption and politics. Politics play a major role in every aspect of the nation, directly or indirectly. Hence it is possible that certain interests of any political leader may influence the decisions of the board.

Comparing to Indian film industry, the censorship of other international film industries is much more lenient. They allow the free minded thoughts of the film makers to be carved in a movie. You may see aggressive contents in those movies. But when those movies come to India, the scenes are directly removed and many dialogues are muted. Sometimes the length of movie is drastically reduced due to this and the story seems to be off. This snatches away the essence of the movies.

The discussion was concluded with agreement of all the members that we do need a censor board but also there is something much wrong with it. India being a diverse country, everyone cannot digest everything we show them. There may be opposition by some group of people while the others may like it very much. Hence we do need a censor board. But the system seems to be not working up to its efficiency. Certain factors are holding it back and some wrong decisions are being passed by the board. Hence the board should come up with some technique to pass decisions such that the message of the movie is not curbed. After all cinema is the most popular form of communication to show the society’s reflection.

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