Cinematograph Bill - Another layer of censorship for filmmakers

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The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a notification in June seeking comments on proposed changes to the Cinematograph Act, 1952. The most controversial feature of the draft Amendment Bill is that it allows the Union government to call for the re-examination of any film. If passed, this would mean that even after a film is certified and cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification, the government can reverse its decision or ask for the film to be reexamined.

This is the latest in a slew of changes for filmmakers in India. In April, the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal was dissolved by the Ministry of Law and Justice. Previously, if the CBFC did not certify a film or asked for changes that filmmakers did not agree with, they could go to the FCAT for redressal. Now they will have to move to the High Courts.

On this episode of The Suno India Show, Suryatapa Mukherjee spoke to filmmaker Leena Manimekalai about these developments for the Indian film industry. Despite receiving awards and acclaim in film festivals, Leena has repeatedly run into trouble with certification. These new changes, she says, have cast doubts on her future as a filmmaker in this country.

Additional reading:

Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021
Shyam Benegal Committee Report 2016
Justice Mukul Committee Report 2013

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