Samson is not the only one displeased. CBFC member Nandini Sardesai questioned the manner in which the appellate tribunal that approved MSG was formed so suddenly. “How can you constitute a tribunal overnight?” she told Scroll. "It usually takes a month to get a tribunal to hear a case."
Sardesai was on the revising committee that unanimously rejected certification for MSG. “I feel as though my credibility had been questioned," she said. "It's a matter of principle. We sat there watching the film for three and a half hours. There as no difference of opinion among us." The committee felt that the film, in which Gurmeet Singh plays himself, is an advertisement for the godman and his religious sect. The film shows him solving Punjab's drug crisis and curing people of deadly diseases.
“Now every godman will make a movie claiming he is a superhero with the ability to cure terminal diseases," Sardesai said. The Dera Sacha Sauda was trying to get the movie released this week but said that it will probably take till January 23rd to hit theatres.
Samson has also accused the government with interfering with the CBFC’s functioning in previous instances, including her decision to allow Aamir Khan-starrer PK to be released without any cuts. Since her appointment to as CBFC chief in 2011, Samson has repeatedly called for the revamp of the censor board and greater autonomy in its functioning.
Fellow censor board member and entertainment editor at CNN-IBN Rajeev Masand said that Samson tried to change the randomness of certification decisions and bring about more consistency. “During Leela Samson’s tenure there was an effort to bring transparency and try and maintain the vision of the filmmaker,” he said. “She made a lot of effort to train, acclimatise and empower the examining committee members about the films they were watching."
With Samson's exit there is a possibility that other CBFC board members will resign but Scroll has no confirmation at this point.
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