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‘Premam’ piracy row: Three censor board staffers nabbed

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Anti-Piracy Cell of the Kerala Police on Monday took into custody three temporary staffers of the Central Board of Film Certification over the leak of Malayalam film “Premam”. bg1

According to the police, the arrests came after scientifically ascertaining the trio’s role in leaking the popular film, which was released in the last week of May.

The leak was detected a few days after the film released, forcing its producer Anwar Rasheed to quit his membership of all Malayalam film-based organisations.

The leak of the film had sent shock waves in the Malayalam film industry after it was found that the leaked copy which was available freely carried the watermark of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

It was ace director Priyadarshan who first requested the chairperson CBFC to ensure that the role of the CBFC office here be probed properly, after his name had cropped up since a part of the post-production was done at his studio in Chennai.

With the entire film industry up in arms over the leak, even the state government was under pressure to act quickly and eyebrows was raised when the police probe team arrested three students from Kollam for uploading the film on the internet.

The police team that nabbed the three temporary staff is understood to have found out the manner in which the leak took place and the way in which it found its way into the internet.

The police probe team is expected to arrest a few more persons who have been found to play truant with the leaked copy.

“Premam” was touted as a film which was going to break all collection records, had hit a rough patch very soon after its release in the last week of May.

The film stars Nivin Pauly, billed as the rising star of the Malayalam film industry, through a string of hugely-popular films like “Bangalore Days”, “Oru Vadekan Selfie”, “Ivide” to name a few.

(IANS)

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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)

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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

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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“The Argumentative Indian” : Amartya Sen documentary Director says ‘No’ in formal response to CBFC

The film, which is structured as a conversation between Sen and his student and internationally known economist, Kaushik Basu, covers a span of 15 years (2002-2017)

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Documentary on Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences. Wikimedia Commons
  • Suman Ghosh has said NO to CBFC regarding their recommendations on the director’s documentary
  • CBFC told the director that the film would be released only if he complies with the boards suggestion to beep out words like “cow”
  • ‘The Argumentative Indian’ is structured as a conversation between Amartya Sen and his student, Kaushik Basu

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: Suman Ghosh, director of The Argumentative Indian– a documentary on Amartya Sen, who earlier refused to follow the Central Board of Film Certification’s diktat, has on Tuesday said that he has formally said ‘NO’ to the CBFC regarding the recommendations.

CBFC told the national award winning director, that his film would be released with a U/A (parental guidance) certificate only if he complies with the board’s suggestions to beep out words like “cow”, “Gujarat”, “Hindutva view of India” and “Hindu India”, which have been used in the context of the present political climate in the country.

“I came to know it is an online process now where you can only opt for ‘yes’ if you accept their (CBFC) suggestions or ‘no’ if you reject their suggestions… After verbally communicating with me on July 11, later on they sent me the letter bearing the same suggestions to keep on mute six parts (both words and phrases)—‘Gujarat’, ‘in India’, ‘Hindu’, ’cow’, ‘these days’ and ‘Hindutva’ for granting ‘U’ certification. In my formal response I opted for ‘no’ option as there is no question of reconsidering my stand of effecting not a single cut in an Amartya Sen documentary,” said Ghosh.

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“But since if a director says no in such situations, his film has to go to the revising committee, I guess I have to appear before the revising committee now in Mumbai,” he further mentioned.

Ghosh stated his busy shooting schedule for a feature film, the reason of delay in his formal online response.

However, when the Nobel Laureate himself was asked about the matter, he chose to stay away from the controversy. “What can I say about this? This film is not made by me. I am the subject of the film and the subject should not be talking about these things. The director Suman Ghosh would say whatever needs to be said… Do not want to start a discussion on this. If the government has any disapproval about the film made on me, it has to be discussed with the concerned stakeholders,” Sen said.

Ghosh had earlier mentioned that he would approach the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), if the matter gets resolved at the revising committee level.

“The attitude of the censor board just underlines the relevance of the documentary in which Sen highlights the growing intolerance in India. Such scrutiny of any criticism of the government in a democratic country is shocking. There is no way I would agree to beep or mute or change anything that one of the greatest minds of our times has said in the documentary,” Ghosh told The Telegraph

Also read: Kolkata: Special Screening of Amartya Sen documentary “An Argumentative Indian” on July 10

According to the quint report, the CBFC move was dubbed as “preposterous” by CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. “On what basis can a documentary on an Indian Nobel Prize winner be stopped just because it mentions cow or Hindutva?” he asked.

In the documentary, Sen speaks of social choice theory, development economics and the rise of right wing nationalism across the world. The film, which is structured as a conversation between Sen and his student and internationally known economist, Kaushik Basu, covers a span of 15 years (2002-2017).

“So many of our democratic rights are being violated but nothing much is happening…. I think we are not responding and that worries me,” said Ghosh, after a private screening of the documentary at Nandan III.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha