Mumbai: A little over two months into his tenure as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Chairperson, writer-ad guru Prasoon Joshi is a tad disappointed at how the censor board is used as a springboard for controversies. It needs to stop, he says.
His comment comes amidst the row over Tamil film ‘Mersal’, after certain media reports indicated that the movie’s Telugu version was getting delayed due to the CBFC. The movie itself has been embroiled in controversy after the Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded the removal of certain dialogues which take a dig at the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Digital India.
Joshi told IANS, “I am not upset, I’m a little disappointed that before you (people) make accusations and allegations, you should check, because such a (certification) process requires sensitivity from both ends. Let’s not use CBFC for some commercial reasons or for somebody’s political career. We should not try to use CBFC. It should be respected as much as one respects their own organisation.”
Over the recent years, several filmmakers have locked horns with the censor body over its diktats and demands for cuts, mutes and changes, leading to a brouhaha in the media. Joshi, who was appointed CBFC chief in August and succeeded the rocky reign of Pahlaj Nihalani, said it’s time to move to “content from controversy”.
“It should be more about the content that drives a film. Why should CBFC be used for a controversy? It is an organisation that consists of people like any other organisation, so why should we be unfair to people who work in CBFC and completely unappreciate the efforts?” he asked.
As far as ‘Mersal’ is concerned, he said it was an “unfair” assumption that the delay in the Telugu version was caused by the CBFC.
“The film fraternity knows that it will take a certain time and the time is clearly mentioned on the official website,” Joshi said, adding that it is disheartening for those in the CBFC who “work hard to ensure the certification process for films is as smooth and fast as possible”.
He also denied that the CBFC asked some changes in the Telugu version of ‘Mersal’. “All I would say is that we are sensitive to the filmmakers. I come from the film fraternity, and I know the pain of making films and how much effort goes into making it. “But on the other hand, we need to also understand that there are people in the certification process who are working hard. Not being appreciative of that and not being cognisant of their time, is also not fair. I think I was a little surprised at it.”
Joshi spoke to IANS on the sidelines of the ongoing MTV India Music Summit, where he is a mentor.