Time to change Cinematograph Act, says Mukesh Bhatt

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) Filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt Monday called for a change in the provisions of Cinematograph Act 1952, on the basis of which the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) regulates public exhibition of films in the country.

"The tragedy is that our Cinematograph Act is of 1952 and we are living in 2012. We need to change that. We need to push for a change on immediate basis because the world has changed. The world had changed but Cinematograph Act has not changed for some reason," Bhatt said at the CII Media and Entertainment Summit 2012 here.

Bhatt feels that there has to be a yardstick with which the filmmakers can judge, which film can be deemed as an 'A (adult)' film or a 'U (universal viewing)' film.

"I, as a filmmaker, don't know what are the parameters to follow for a 'U/A', 'A', or 'U' certificate. The interpretation is so vague. I feel I am at the mercy of those people who are watching the film," he said.

"There was a promo of a romantic song, where the boy and the girl don't even touch each other and for some strange reason, the promo was given a U/A certificate. Why? Because the members wanted to play safe, so that nobody raises questions on it later. That kind of a mindset has to be changed. There has to be some clear demarcation so that I say these are the 'dos' and these are the 'donts', while making a film."

Bhatt was speaking during a panel discussion on film and TV censorship in the country. Apart from Bhatt, the panel included Shyam Benegal, Sudhir Mishra, Jahnu Barua, Gauri Shinde, Shabana Azmi and CBFC chief Leela Samson.

Bhatt also urged the CBFC to ignore "unnecessary" PILs (public interest litigation) filed against any film once it has been cleared by the board.

"And if somebody has filed a PIL somewhere - some moral policing organization wanting to seek publicity at the cost of our films, I urge the board to not to accept such PILs after they have cleared the film. Any random person files the PIL and we fall into trouble... that's ridiculous," he added.

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