Veteran actor and former censor board chief Anupam Kher, who plays a pivotal role in Madhur Bhandarkar's "Indu Sarkar" — mired in controversy over its political flavour, has described the current scenario of the CBFC as "ridiculous".
"What is happening in the censor board, it's not only unfortunate, it's ridiculous," Anupam told IANS here on the sidelines of the recently concluded International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards here.
"We are in the 21st century. I think people are responsible enough to not do some things which they don't think they need to do. Yes, we have to have a sense of responsibility when we are creating something.
"But I think we should have the liberty to create what we want to create," added the actor, who had served as censor board chief from 2003 to 2004.
"Indu Sarkar" is a hard-hitting cinematic offering from National Award winning filmmaker Bhandarkar, whose idea behind making the movie was to tell the country's youth about the Emergency period that had a great impact on the nation.
For his film, he has modelled characters on former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi — much to the dismay of Congress representatives who have been actively protesting the film's release.
To make matters worse for Bhandarkar, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has suggested 12 cuts and two disclaimers, including removal of words like RSS and Akali from "Indu Sarkar".
But the filmmaker is fighting it out. After a verdict from the Revising Committee, he plans to take it to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which had come to rescue of "Lipstick Under My Burkha" recently.
Kher said: "The government had instituted a board under the leadership of Mr Shyam Benegal. It certainly needs to be implemented and incorporated in the rule book of the Indian censor board.
"The present rule book is very old. It has been modified here and there but it needs to be revisited completely," said the 62-year-old actor, who has been in the film industry for over three decades.
Does he feel this constant brouhaha over films with a political tinge making filmmakers increasing wary about exploring the genre?
"It's happening in any case… You cannot tell people, 'Make this'. People are making what they want to make. In fact, right now I feel this is the golden era of Indian cinema… You can make what you want to make.
"Also, there's a need to ignore negativity. We notice it too much."
Besides, he feels that a "united voice of the industry" — much like what was raised before the release of the controversial drama "Udta Punjab" — needs to be heard, and the troublemakers need to be ignored.
(The writer's trip was at the invitation of IIFA organisers. Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)