Jaitley meets Benegal panel; pitches for creative freedom

RSTV Bureau
Mumbai: Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley and the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore attending a meeting with the Shyam Benegal Committee, in Mumbai, January 9, 2016. Photo - PTI

Mumbai: Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley and the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore attending a meeting with the Shyam Benegal Committee, in Mumbai, January 9, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Union Information and Broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday held the first meeting with the Central government appointed Shyam Benegal panel formed to look into the revamp of Censor Board. The panel, headed by legendary filmmaker Shyam Benegal, was constituted on January 1, 2016 to recommend broad guidelines for certification of films by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), commonly known as the Censor Board.

Jaitley, who holds the charge of Union I&B ministry besides the ministry of Finance, emphasised that film certification guidelines need contemporary interpretation and should be as non discretionary as possible.

Deliberating over the issue, Arun Jaitley said in most countries there is a mechanism for certifying films and documentaries, but it has to be ensured that in doing so, artistic creativity and freedom do not get curtailed. Film certification guidelines need contemporary interpretation and they should be made as non discretionary as possible, he added as reported by the press.

Union MoS for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was also present, during the wide ranging interaction with the Benegal panel.

Mumbai: The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley interacting with filmmaker Shyam Benegal after a meeting in Mumbai on Saturday, January 9, 2016. Photo - PTI

Mumbai: The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley interacting with filmmaker Shyam Benegal after a meeting in Mumbai on Saturday, January 9, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Apart from Arun Jaitley, MoS Rathore and Shyam Benegal, other committee members – noted filmmaker Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, advertising and communication expert Piyush Pandey, film journalist and critic Bhawana Somayaa, NFDC Managing Director Nina Lath Gupta and Joint Secretary, Films, Sanjay Murthy were also present.

Stressing there is a need to move towards a new system of grading films in terms of age, maturity, sensibility and sensitivity instead of censorship, Shyam Benegal said the panel also discussed how the committee would function. The panel also discussed on what the guidelines and policies should be like of the Censor Board while clearing a movie.

“There might be amendments and changes in the (existing) guidelines,” Benegal told the press.

The committee will study the existing procedure being followed by CBFC for certification of original films, their dubbed versions as well as recertification of films for screening on other media platforms.

It will also study various directives of courts as well as notifications issued by other government agencies like Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Animal Welfare Board of India which have a bearing on the process of film certification.

MoS Rajyavardhan Rathore expressed confidence that the committee would provide a holistic framework for interpretation of the provisions of Cinematograph Act and Rules for the benefit of the chairperson and other members of the CBFC Screening Committee.

(With inputs from the PTI)