Karnataka regional Censor Officer M Nagendra Swamy writes to Chitraloka about the confusion which is going on about the censor board. In 2014 they have censored 202 movies and six movies have been rejected.
1 CBFC is created by cinematograph act 1952 passed by parliament and it functions under the rules and guidelines of the act. The name of earlier censor board was changed to CBFC in 1983 to give a positive meaning. Everything remained same till today and the act applies to each and every film when they presented for certification. One of the guideline says the film is of aesthetic value and cinematically of a good standard.
2 It is clarified here that no individual makes the decision about any film or its trailer or its clips and songs. All decisions are committee based and Regional officer is bound to communicate the decision of the committee to the producer in due course of time as prescribed in the act and in writing giving reasons. Regarding the Galibeeja, the decision of examination committee and the reasons was communicated to the producer in front of committee members on personal hearing and also fallowed it up in writing on 30th Dec 2015 (Screened on 25th Dec 2014). The film was not refused on technical reasons and hence no word of technicality is mentioned.
3 To decide whether a film has aesthetic value or not and cinematically good standard or not (as the act has not defined these) and also for other guidelines the government has appointed advisory members who are from all fields. They include artists, doctors, social scientist, educationist; journalists film critics, film directors, writers and also house makers. The government has appointed them considering their ability to judge the aesthetic value, cinematic standard and also the health of the society keeping in mind the understanding capacity of the common man. Accordingly at a committee level they take a decision most of the times it is unanimous and at times decided by majority voting. Regarding Galibeeja it is unanimous decision for refusal. Galibeeja producer had applied for feature film category and for U certificate. There is also provision in the act for issuing “S” CERTIFICATE for professionals screening.
4 Further to redress any adverse decision of the examining committee and also to avoid its subjective decision, if any, the board and the act has provided the mechanism of Revise committee(RC) which comprises of double the number of members and also who were not members of examining committee so that fresh look of the film can be taken. Even further there is one more level of Tribunal to decide the certification of the film. After that also one can approach The Hon’ble courts for direction of certification.
5 Galibeeja was examined with the same procedure and it is not the first film to be refused and another two films are also refused with the same reason. The decision of the examining committee is not ultimate. It may be mentioned here that last year the same examining committee certified “Hatti annu and Kanaja” which is also an experimental film and ultimately the film won award in recently concluded BIFES.
6 Regarding Galibeeja what I appealed was that when it is expected to come in front of RC nobody should vitiate the atmosphere more importantly the producer, director and its team, related people must not influence the mind of RC members. It may be mentioned here that it is not the intention to curb individual freedom, or artistic freedom or opinion about it. Everyone is free to air their views about Galibeeja after the decision of RC and its certification. Till today it is an uncertified film and no uncertified film so far is commented upon. Whatever comments, critic one see in media and other forums is of certified films only. Looking at the statements of producer in the media it seems Galibeeja is screened at Festival, Bazars and other forums before certification. If it is true then it is seriously violated the act as it is uncertified film. The act says uncertified film must not be screened and violation is an offense and has to be penalized.
7 It is once again clarified here that the examining committee only said that it has “no sense and no meaning.” But it is conveniently twisted and wrote about keeping the phrase “committee could not understand” (it was personally explained to the writer of the article clearly, nevertheless she made her story keeping it as headline and theme deliberately.)
8 Regarding the future of Kannada Film industry this year a record number of 202 films are certified by CBFC. Never in the history of CBFC, Bangalore so many films are certified in a year. This was possible because of screening of 6 films in a day. Out of 202 films Only 6 films were rejected and 3 films including Galibeeja is rejected for the same reason. The number of films certified speaks about CBFC’s responsiveness towards demands of kannada film industry and the act In the present form is fair enough to respect artistic freedom. One should remember ultimately the films are certified for public screenings keeping in mind the common man and health of our society.
9 Now the question is do we have to apply different standard, different guidelines for Galibeeja? Is each and every work of award winning team is a masterpiece and it should not be subjected to normal procedure of certification? Will not it be a fore gone conclusion, what will be the decision of Revising committee after the statements of famous directors and media write ups about it? Is it not Intellectual efforts to bulldoze the decisions of the committee and tarnish the image of an Institution and individuals? CBFC has serving this nation certifying thousands of films respecting artistic freedom all over India? Law of the land must apply to each and every one and to every film in the same fashion.
(M Nagendra Swamy )