Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification Sharmila Tagore said today that the board has no objection to any scenes in the Aamir Khan-produced Peepli [Live that released last weekend after being certified.
Earlier this week,two advisory panel members of the CBFC,Mohan Singh Saini and Brijmohan Sharma,wrote to Khan saying a scene in which there is a reference to a scheme named after Lal Bahadur Shastri was derogatory and an insult to the former Prime Minister.
But Tagore said,The board has not objected either verbally or in writing. I deny that any such letter was sent by the CBFC asking for any scenes to be deleted.
The film was already certified. Once that certification is issued,it cannot be revoked. Certainly,after issuing a certificate to a film the board – or any of its members – cannot ask for an apology or for any scene to be deleted.
Even if the two panel members had written the letter in their individual capacity,Tagore said,they should have taken up any personal opinion regarding the film or any scene internally.
Calling the censor board a bridge between the Information & Broadcasting Ministry and producers,Tagore said a serious view would be taken regarding the two members letter to Khan,which had also been sent to I&B Minister Ambika Soni. Sometimes,members are chosen without consulting the chairperson, Tagore said,asking for caution in these appointments and for panel members who do not belittle the stature of the CBFC. These are embarrassing moments, she said.
Saini,on his part,insisted he believes the scene is demeaning and that he has a right,in a democracy,as an independent individual,to lodge a protest. If his letter does not yield any action,said the Powai-based Congress worker,he may undertake a hunger strike near the statue of Lal Bahadur Shastri at Regal Cinema,Colaba. He did not see the film before it was certified,he said.
The scene refers to a scheme to provide handpumps to farmers. A character refers to the scheme with an abbreviated usage and says,Ek Lal Bahadur de do,Tagore said.
Following the addition of a scene that had a reference to herself and Saif Ali Khan,a fresh NOC was obtained,Tagore added.