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Shyam Benegal: Films Need ‘Adult With Caution’ Category

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Director Shyam Benegal Image Courtesy: Shyam Benegal's Wikipedia page

In light of the recent row between the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani and the makers of Udta Punjab, veteran filmmaker and head of revamp committee of the Censor Board Shyam Benegal, has suggested an ‘Adult with Caution’ or ‘A/C’ category, for certification of films with ‘excessive adult content’.

The interim report was reportedly submitted to the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitley on April 26.

Benegal, who called Udta Punjab a “well-made” film, said, “Films with ‘A/C’ will have restricted viewing as they can’t be screened at cinema halls located near residential areas. We do not want to deny the filmmakers the right to screen their movies. When you do that, the movies go underground.”

While the regular ‘A’ certificate allows viewers of 18 years and above to watch a film, the screening of the ‘A/C’ film, in addition to barring the entry of under 18 movie-goers, would restrict the location of the film’s screening.

Benegal said that with the ‘A/C’ certificate, certain films with a lot of adult content, despite the ‘A’ certificate could be screened in red light or non-residential areas, as multiplexes are full of families.

On that note, the committee hopes to introduce two more categories under the ‘U/A’ category: U/A 12+ and U/A 15+.  The first category allows viewers of 12 years and above to watch a certain film under parental supervision while the second allows viewers of 15 years and above to watch a particular film.

Benegal, who thought Udta Punjab conveyed no “anti-Punjab” sentiments, said that people were misreading the film. “They are under the impression that it is anti-Punjab. I don’t think the film is anti-Punjab at all.”

In his career as a filmmaker, Benegal too faced a lot of opposition, for films like Ankur, Manthan, and Bhumika, which focused on sociopolitical issues. As a member of the revamp committee, he and other members will lay down procedures and guidelines for the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC).

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