Farhan Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap signed open letter protesting the proposed changes to the Cinematograph Act
Actors and filmmakers have written against the government’s changes to the Cinematograph Act.
A group of artists also filmmakers, including Anurag Kashyap, Hansal Mehta, Vetri Maaran, Nandita Das, Shabana Azmi, Farhan ‘Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, also Dibakar Banerjee, have signed an open letter to the Department of Information furthermore Broadcasting on amendments introduced by the government. Cinematograph Act of 1952. They said the move had the potential “to jeopardize the freedom of speech and the opposition to democracy.”
Earlier this month, the institute released the draft Cinematograph Bill (Amendment) 2021 to the public for comment until July 2. The new body proposes to amend the Cinematograph Act of 1952 with conditions that will give the institution “revision” and be able to “re-evaluate” already deleted Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
An online book with more than 1400 signatories from various walks of life was written on Sunday evening by the Web Allay Ooo! renowned filmmaker Prateek Vats and filmmaker Shilpi Gulati and scholar and lawyer.
The letter came days after Vishal Bhardwaj, a filmmaker, took to Twitter to urge colleagues in his industry to oppose the proposal. The filmmaker may have signed the book. In an interview with Prateek, Vats said it was important for artists to “expressly” express their concerns and suggestions instead of a proposal that would leave filmmakers with less creative freedom.
“Our programs are based on the past two organizations’ recommendations, Shyam Benegal and Justice Mudgal. They should be given a lot of recommendations. They say they include that, but they are not. We, as a group, have set out our proposals, concerns. If they want to change this action, it should be. This is because transparency should be repeated,” said the director.
Prateek also said that the proposed amendment only “transfers” the CBFC, which means that artists will continue to fight fears that the body’s decision could be overturned.
“Empowering federal government reforms is a wrong move:
- First, because you are passing on your own, legally mandated process.
- You reduce confidence in the institutional body, which is the CBFC…
- Coinciding with eliminating FCAT will be difficult for everyone, independent filmmakers, filmmakers, producers, and large production houses.
“They will always have to think that can remove the sensor. What does that mean? It means that we as a group, in the right words and put out our suggestions no doubt. Don’t say we didn’t participate,” Prateek said.
Other signatories include Vikramaditya Motwane, Abhishek Chaubey, Sheeba Chaddha, and Rohini Hattangadi. In addition, the note lists five government proposals as follows:
1. The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021 should clearly define the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) role as a body that ensures the content of films in a public exhibition and not as a restrictive body.
2. We recommend that amendments that give Central Government the power to withdraw a film certificate should be deleted. We concur by the spirit of the Supreme Court ruling, which said that this would violate the separation of our democratic powers
3. While acknowledging that hijacking poses a significant challenge for filmmakers, the proposed amendments do not address this concern effectively by introducing a penal system. Once submitted, should create alternatives to fair use, de minimis use, and direct film-based work. Systematic solutions to actual crime need to be included.
4. We recommend that the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) be reinstated, as it makes the remedies affordable and readily available to filmmakers.
5. The Cinematograph Act should be amended to include a clear definition of a public exhibition and bring under it only commercially significant commercial films and a revenue model linked to theater exhibitions.
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