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We need to be a certification body, not censors: Vani Tripathi Tikoo, CBFC

"The Cinematograph Act needs to be amended. It is redundant and draconian. I&B minister Smriti Irani has shown a steadfast approach in rectifying the decision", added Tikoo.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 18, 2017, 12.30 AM IST
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"Filmmakers have the right to present their concerns but what is a little disturbing is the haggling some of them do with the board for the type of certificate they wish to have', she said.
"Filmmakers have the right to present their concerns but what is a little disturbing is the haggling some of them do with the board for the type of certificate they wish to have', she said.
The way forward is certification, more ratings and no censorship, two -term CBFC member Vani Tripathi Tikoo tells ET, after the exit of CBFC’s controversial chairman Pahlaj Nihalani. Excerpts:

How do you see the appointment of Prasoon Joshi as head of CBFC?
I welcome it. Joshi is a very sensitive lyricist and writer and also heads one of the biggest advertising companies. He knows about societal influences and social concerns.

Pahlaj Nihalani’s censoring was controversial. Should the change have come earlier?
A battle of perceptions is going on for a long time. Increasingly, the decisions of CBFC were becoming unpopular. The word censor became important while certification should have been the way forward. This term was coined when we were a British colony and information had to be “censored.” We need to be a certification body. Certification is not a business of a creative process but it is a business of a sociological process. While appointment of Joshi is welcome, there are other changes that have been made to the board.

Vidya Balan is an intelligent actor. Decision-making will be more inclusive as voices from the northeast have made to the board. We are the certification board. We can only certify if the content is okay for a mature or an underage audience. When an 18-year-old can vote, how can we decide what he sees.

Does the new board signal reforms?
The Cinematograph Act needs to be amended. It is redundant and draconian. I&B minister Smriti Irani has shown a steadfast approach in rectifying the decision when it comes to appointments and I am sure more reforms are going to be made. The examining committee decisions where board members.have little role have to be looked into too. The role of regional officers, panel members, their subjectivity needs to be understood. With Prasoon Joshi and the new board, there is at least hope and promise that there will be collaborative approach now.

In the last three years, several filmmakers have expressed disappointment with CBFC...
Filmmakers have the right to present their concerns but what is a little disturbing is the haggling some of them do with the board for the type of certificate they wish to have. I understand there are commercial compulsions.

Doordarshan takes only U certified films. Satellite takes only U/A. But the film industry needs to be more open. They need to have a more collaborative approach with the board. There is no issue going public with their concerns but that and just that alone cannot happen every time there is a controversy. The film bodies, such as the Producers Guild, the associations from the south, should talk to us more. Some filmmakers regularly say: “I have a release so you certify my film first.” That puts a lot of pressure on the board.

How do you see the Shyam Benegal Committee recommendations?
The recommendations are fantastic. The then minister Arun Jaitley needs to be congratulated for that. We had the best people such as Benegal, Kamal Hasan and Piyush Pandey who understand society and cinema putting them together.The amendments are very important.

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