Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who headed a committee to take a holistic look at the functioning of the controversy-ridden CBFC, says he is surprised that the government has not yet to responded to the recommendations made by them. “We haven’t heard from the government at all. I am waiting when they will take a decision…whether they will say yes or no (to the recommendations). One wants to know if they are accepting only part of it or the entire (report). At the moment, there is total silence,” Benegal said.
“I am not shocked, rather surprised, because (earlier) they seemed to be keen. But where did that keenness disappear?” he asked. Earlier, several filmmakers often complained of arbitrary objections and cuts sought by Pahlaj Nihalani, former chief of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Following the complaints, in January 2016 the government constituted the Shyam Benegal-headed committee to look into the revamp of the CBFC.
In its first report in April 2016, the committee submitted some recommendations to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry regarding censorship in films. The committee also includes actor Kamal Haasan, filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, adman Piyush Pandey and film critic Bhawana Somaaya.
“There were lots of complaints and arbitrary ways in which CBFC was dealing, so that was clearly the purpose of this committee. There was no pattern. What is the extent of your freedom of expression, there is a limit. My freedom of expression goes as far as it doesn’t step on your freedom of expression,” Benegal said.