Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that while a system for certifying movies exists in all countries, the certification team should not impinge upon filmmakers’ artistic freedom and creativity. He also said that film certification guidelines should be framed within a contemporary understanding of cinema, and that the decisions should “non-discretionary”.
Jaitley was talking to members of the committee set up on January 1, headed by filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who will examine the issues in film certification and censorship in the country. Benegal said India needs to move towards a system of classifying films in terms of age, sensibility, maturity and sensitivity, and not censorship. Benegal has maintained that he is against parts of films for moralistic reasons.
The meeting was attended by other members of the panel including filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, ad man Piyush Pandey, film journalist Bhawana Somayaa, National Film Development Corporation of India Managing Director Nina Lath Gupta and Joint Secretary, Films, Sanjay Murthy. Union Minister of State for Broadcasting and Communication Rajyavardhan Rathore was also present.
Rathore said the new panel is well-equipped to provide a set of guidelines to work within the Cinematograph Act. The panel is expected to study how the current censor board certifies films, including dubbed versions and other related media products. It is also supposed to look into how the film board’s workings are related to various matters of law and policy.