CBFC revamp need of the hour: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) The government’s initiative to revamp the framework within which the country’s film censorship board functions is a welcome move and the “need of the hour”, says National Award winning filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

Mehra is part of the newly-appointed revamp panel led by celebrated film maker and director Shyam Benegal.

“It’s a welcome initiative and it’s a huge challenge from here. But the revamp is the need of the hour. We are very happy that the government decided to take this initiative,” Mehra, known for movies like “Rang De Basanti” and “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

On Friday, the government announced the formation of the Benegal Committee to recommend a holistic framework for the country’s film censor board, and to suggest changes in the Cinematograph Act, so that artistic creativity and freedom are not curtailed.

Led by 81-year-old Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner Benegal, an auteur of parallel Indian cinema, the panel also includes ad guru Piyush Pandey, veteran film journalist Bhawana Somaaya, National Film Development Corporation managing director Nina Lath Gupta, and the joint secretary (Films) in the information and broadcasting ministry as the Member Convenor, besides Mehra.

Mehra said they will all put their minds together to create the road map for the changes required in the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

Will it primarily be about suggesting changes to the framework of film certification or about recommending alterations in the Cinematograph Act, 1952?

“I think a bit of everything. It’s something we have to sit together and deliberate upon, because, it may sound rhetorical but we have to move with changing times. Times have changed, and there is tremendous change from the days when the framework for the Cinematograph Act was made,” Mehra said.

“We are now living in a different world, and so we would like to take things to a next level. There is so much connectivity and information that change is the need of the hour,” he said.

Asked if filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani’s role as CBFC chairman remains untouched with the formation of the panel, Mehra said he isn’t the right person to answer this question.

However, Mehra stressed that it’s “amazing” that the Narendra Modi-led government has taken a step towards “making a beginning” as far as change in film certification is concerned.

The filmmaker had joined the committee upon an invite from the government and said he wanted to be part of it as a “citizen” and then as a filmmaker.

“It’s a long journey from here. We have to make a beginning somewhere, and we are looking forward to plot the roadmap ahead,” Mehra said, adding that summing up the changes he’d like to see in the rules and regulations of CBFC would be tough to summarise over a call.

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