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Censorship in India: Protection or Supression?

The power of films was recognized long ago and they have been controlled ever since

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Censorship in India, the power to stay in power
Censorship in India, a suppression of the free speech or a motive to protect the vulnerable? Pixabay
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New Delhi, November 6, 2017: Film, as one understands, is the basis of all motion pictures and both the most persuasive and pervasive form of communication in the contemporary world. Following the development of technology, films have become much more ubiquitous and accessible. It is quite apparent that films have a lot more to them than just the purpose of entertainment. Not just a communicator of ideas, a film is also a crucial pedagogical tool that facilitates learning, spreads awareness, and motivates participation from the audiences. It is an efficient medium to help audience rethink their place in the world and to encourage them to do something for good.

Noting how influential films are as a medium of communication, the topic that
always remains hot is Censorship.

Censorship is not something that can easily be placed in the category of good or bad, in fact, both its supporters and those against it, have broken their necks to justify their arguments.

Films can change attitudes, inspire people and influence them in the deepest of ways. This was recognized long ago when the 1925 Russian film, Battleship Potemkin, was banned across the world as its story and visualization were deemed so powerful that it had the potential to arouse social outrage.

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) takes charge of Censorship in India. The board commands directors to remove everything it deems as offensive, on a regular basis. The CBFC has failed to convince a large audience with the reasons that it provided for the ban of certain films in India. One of these films is “Lipstick under my Burkha” which is the most recent film to become extremely popular for its ban in India. The reason that CBFC gave for the denial of certification to the film was that it is “Lady oriented”, which apparently, none can consider to be valid. If stifling the voices of women can be justified under the name of censorship, the very idea of it is threatening and must not be entertained.

Also readFacebook quietly develops Censorship Tool to re-enter World’s Second Largest Economy China after 7-Year Ban. 

Udta Punjab was also in limelight for the 94 cuts that CBFC demanded in the film, some of which included removal of the names of Punjab cities, the name of the state itself and the name of a dog which was called Jacky chain. There are many other films where the grounds on which the Censor board asked the filmmakers to cut scenes are unacceptable and sometimes plain hilarious. “Phillauri” makers were asked to mute Hanuman Chalisa as it failed to shoo the ghosts off.

The argument that the supporters of censorship usually give is that it is only in a perfect world, where children wouldn’t be exposed to films inappropriate for their age, where every person recognizes the boundary between film and reality, would censorship not be necessary; but the fact is that we don’t live in a perfect world. Censorship, as they call it, is just the step to protect the vulnerable in the society.

The people against censorship, however, shrug this idea off, and do not hesitate to call censorship in India, an incentive for the people in power to stay in power.

In principle, government holds a responsibility to make the art accessible to whoever is interested. However, with a country as diverse as ours, both absolute freedom and strict censorship could be problematic. The heterogeneity of citizens suggests the varying needs, sensibilities, attitudes and therefore, one needs to strike a balance.

-Prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter: goel_samiksha

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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

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Padmavati Controversy: Rajasthan Government will form a committee to Watch Padmavati

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Rajasthan Government will form a committee to Watch Padmavati
Padmavati movie poster. Instagram

Jaipur, November 10, 2017: The Rajasthan government plans to set up a committee to watch Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s forthcoming controversial movie “Padmavati”.

“Modalities in this direction will be worked out soon. The committee will watch the movie and will identify the scenes in the film that may hurt the sentiments of the public,”  Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria, Rajasthan government told IANS.

“What has to do after that… Do we have to talk to the filmmaker… It will only be decided after watching the film. Moreover, what we can do on our level will also be decided after the committee watches the film,” Kataria said.

While the Rajasthan government may set up a committee, it is not immediately clear whether Bhansali will screen the movie for it as by law, only the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has the right to certify a movie.

“Padmavati”, which attempts to tell the tale of the valor of Rajputs with the backdrop of the 1303 siege of Chittorgarh, is scheduled to release on December 1.

It is embroiled in controversy over the conjecture that it distorts history by showing a dream romance sequence between Rani Padmini and invader Alauddin Khilji — a claim rubbished by Bhansali.

Still, organizations like Shri Rajput Karni Sena and Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha to go up in arms against the release of the movie, while BJP leaders have been making statements and appeal to stop its release.

“They are trying to defame Padmavati by distorting historical facts. It is not acceptable,” an activist of Karni Sena said.

In the wake of the controversy, even film distributors in Rajasthan are wary of releasing the film in the state.

On his part, Bhansali has clarified that the movie, featuring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, has nothing which can hurt anyone’s sentiments.(IANS)