Thursday, February 19, 2015

Digest for - 1 update in 1 topic (Dr. Jai Maharaj): Feb 19 09:48PM

The Pioneer
Friday, February 20, 2015
Censor chief must discard antediluvian ideas
Central Board of Film Certification Chairperson Pahlaj
Nihalani has reportedly compiled a list of 28 'profane'
words in English and Hindi that he wants banned from use
in films. His defence is that abusive language in films
adversely impacts millions of people, especially
children, who watch cinema, and that the malicious
influence percolates into their day-to-day behaviour.
While there is no running away from the fact that films
are a major medium of influence, the bright idea to ban
the 28 words Mr Nihalani has short-listed in his profound
wisdom, beats reason. For one, what about the hundreds of
other cuss words that float around in those two
languages? Is it okay to use them but not the listed
ones? Moreover, what is the guarantee that more words
will not be added to the list as time goes by? There may
even come a day when the Censor Board decides to strike
down cuss words retrospectively - which means that films
released with proper certification months ago could be
summoned on the Censor Board surgeon's table for deletion
of words that were lately considered to be offensive! The
job of the Censor Board is to certify films based on
their content.
If it believes that a particular film has offensive
language that is revolting, it has the option to study
the profane words in the overall context of the film, the
character that mouths them, and the film's theme. If it
believes the cuss language fit into the larger context,
it must let the words go unedited, though it can decide
to give a 'A' or a 'U/A' certification to filter the age
of audience that gets to watch such films.
It is also possible that film-makers may use such
language for the sake of 'value-addition' and without any
real justification of the plot or characters. Here the
Board can ask the film-maker to delete the offensive
words. This has happened before. But it simply makes no
sense to ban words across the board. Being a film-maker,
Mr Nihalani ought to realise the importance of creative
freedom in the film industry. Hopefully, better sense
will prevail.
Meanwhile, it is wrong to read into the Censor Board
chief's proactiveness an extension of the Union
Government's alleged desire to cleanse society in a
cultural sense. Unfortunately, this is what critics of
the Narendra Modi regime have begun doing. They forget
that quite a few members of the Censor Board, considered
close to the regime or at least its larger ideology, have
spoken out against Mr Nihalani's decision.
There is also no indication that the Union Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting is backing the Censor Board
Chairperson's diktat. While Mr Nihalani's concerns are
appreciable, it must be left to the individual and the
collective wisdom of the film fraternity to draw the red
line between what is essential in the cinematic sense and
what is avoidable profanity. He must trust his co-
professionals in the industry.
More at:
The Pioneer
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti
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