Saturday, November 11, 2006

Censorship in Bollywood , an evil or a bliss ?

Censorship in Bollywood

Censorship is a world wild law instrument that all cinema filmmakers and producers undergo. Every country in the world has its own rules about censorship . What Morocco and India have in common about supervising movies is freedom of speech. Both countries are still having controversial debates about whether thinkers ,journalists and filmmakers can go farther to tackle touchy subjects . ‘ Maroc’ by Leila Marrakchi is severly banned by an Islamic political party,JDP (1) in Morocco.Yet, some cinema theatres have projected it . The same as ‘ Fanaa’ by Mahesh Bhatt, and the "Da Vinci Code," which endured a delayed opening in India, and has now been banned in various states across the country due to the fear of violent protests by the minority Christian community. Recent clip of Paris Hilton (2) was also banned from all TV channels in India. This is despite the fact that it has been cleared by the independent Central Censors Board without any recommended cuts.
Bollywood is the world most prolific industry that goes through censorship. In India ,they call it CBFC,Central Board of Film Certification. Having its head quaters in Mumbay,it has nine regional centers at bangalore,Chennai ,Cuttack,Delhi ,Guwahati,Hyderabad,Kolkata,Mumbay,and thiruvananthapuram.
All kind of film support either it is celluloid or video or CD or DVD version are subjected to censorship. This makes Supreme Court of India publish an official statement through out India that all films meant for public exhibition, irrespective of their length must be screened. In fact, the board screens every movie and can order to cut out offensive scenes. Producers can make an appeal to gain rights at the court , but CBFC ‘ responsabiltity is only to certify films. Members of the censorship board who come from the world of education , politics , arts , social sciences and films are appointed only for three years,. Touchy political subjects like religious or ethnic themes are off limits.
"Film censorship becomes necessary because a film motivates thought and action and assures a high degree of attention and retention as compared to the printed word. The combination of act and speech, sight and sound in semi darkness of the theatre with elimination of all distracting ideas will have a strong impact on the minds of the viewers and can affect emotions. Therefore, it has as much potential for evil as it has for good and has an equal potential to instill or cultivate violent or good behaviour. It cannot be equated with other modes of communication. Censorship by prior restraint is, therefore, not only desirable but also necessary"
one of the objective of the certification is that the medium of film
must consider the values and standards of society; presents clean and healthy entertainment; and the film is of aesthetic value and cinematically of a good standard » (3).

Detailed Guidelines for certification :

(i) anti social activities such as violence are not glorified or justified
(ii) the modus operandi of criminals, other visuals or words likely to incite the commission of any offence are not depicted;
(iii) scenes
A showing involvement of children in violence as victims or perpetrators or as forced witnesses to violence, or showing children as being subjected to any form of child abuse;
B showing abuse or ridicule of physically and mentally handicapped persons; and
C showing cruelty to, or abuse of animals, are not presented needlessly

(iv) pointless or avoidable scenes of violence, cruelty and horror, scenes of violence primarily intended to provide entertainment and such scenes as may have the effect of de-sensitising or de-humanising people are not shown;
(v) scenes which have the effect of justifying or glorifying drinking are not shown;
(vi) scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorise drug addiction are not shown;
(vi-a) scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorise consumption of tobacco or smoking are not shown;
(vii) human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity;
(viii) such dual meaning words as obviously cater to baser instincts are not allowed;
(ix) scenes degrading or denigrating women in any manner are not presented; (x) scenes involving sexual violence against women like attempt to rape, rape or any form of molestation or scenes of a similar nature are avoided, and if any such incidence is germane to the theme, they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown
(xi) scenes showing sexual perversions shall be avoided and if such matters are germane to the theme they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown
(xii) visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups are not presented
(xiii) visuals or words which promote communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national attitude are not presented
(xiv) the sovereignty and integrity of India is not called in question;
(xv) the security of the State is not jeopardized or endangered
(xvi) friendly relations with foreign States are not strained;
(xvii) public order is not endangered
(xviii) visuals or words involving defamation of an individual or a body of individuals, or contempt of court are not presented
EXPLANATION: Scenes that tend to create scorn, disgrace or disregard of rules or undermine the dignity of court will come under the term 'Contempt of Court' : and
(xix) national symbols and emblems are not shown except in accordance with the provisions of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 (12 of 1950).


A particular complaint that has often been made is that the theatres often display obscene film posters. The Cinematograph Act 1952 does not directly cover obscene posters and these come under the common law of the land relating to obscenity, particularly section 292 of the Indian Penal Code. Enforcement under Section 292 of IPC comes within the purview of the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations, particularly their law enforcing agencies including the police.

1- JDP is an Islamic poltical party in Morocco.
2- Paris Hilton is a video clip super star in the US .
3- Famous statement of Supreme Court in India.

Thanks to C CM , the centre of National cinema in Morocco.
CBFC , The central Board of Film Certification .