Films And Freedom

‘Censorship Kills Creativity,’ Says Director Kamlesh Udasi
30 May 2017
Manu Shrivastava, Ahmedabad

FILM-MAKER Amol Palekar’s recent Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court underlines DraftCraft’s stand on Censorship and the legal anomalies associated. It threw open an opportunity to the Apex court to judiciously expand upon, with creative interpretation, the jurisdiction of Censorship itself.

DraftCraft Interactive Session on Films and Freedom at DraftCraft - The Ahmedabad Studio
In a DraftCraft Interactive Session held at DraftCraft – The Ahmedabad Studio in Gujarat, participants from the film industry and cinema enthusiasts had an invigorating discussion on ‘Films and Freedom’. After the string of controversial Censor Board decisions to ban the release of films like Lipstick under My Burkha more recently before FirePaanch and Parzania were banned, the issue ‘Do We Really Need a Censor Board’ has been analysed threadbare across India. The core discussion revolved around the notion that Censorship kills Creativity especially in films.

The crucial issue here is that when prohibited and censored content flows free on the internet on myriad websites and channels, how relevant is a censor board and censorship. The DraftCraft Session was attended by renowned Gujarat-based film-maker and head of ZigZag Productions Kamlesh Udasi, Gujarati film actress of Bhanwar fame Tarika Tripathi and film enthusiasts Sanjeev Kanda and Saurabh Paul. The session was chaired by DraftCraft founder, editor and film-maker Gajanan Khergamker.

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) or the Censor Board is a statutory body under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry of India. The Board regulates ‘public exhibitions of films’ under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952. Sadly, the Censor Board finds itself in the news, for all the wrong reasons.

DraftCraft’s preliminary interaction on ‘Films and Freedom’ focused on addressing pertinent questions of how free is the process of film creation for writers, directors and producers. Does a good script or aggressive marketing make a film successful? Do films reflect society or is it the other way around? Do shorts and documentaries fill the vacuum created by restrictions on mainstream cinema?

“LipStick Under My Burkha should not have been banned!’ insisted Tarika, speaking on the most recent and probably one of the most controversial decisions taken by CBFC to ban the release of a film in India. “More ‘free’ platforms and mediums should be used by filmmakers to produce shorts and documentaries that don’t have the same restrictions while being screened on YouTube,” she said.

Actress Tarika Tripathi expressing her views
Kamlesh Udasi said that for entry of all films, inclusive of shorts and documentaries, to all government film festivals and festivals organised by Government of India, a clearance from the Censor Board is a prerequisite. “And, that should change,” he felt.

Director Kamlesh Udasi speaking about censorship
The Gujarati film industry players feel strongly about freedom in films
Sanjeev Kanda, a film enthusiast, was effusive in his argument and concern that, as a viewer, he does not get to see the kind of films he would want to see nowadays. “Apart from the censorship issues, I feel film-makers themselves are wary of making bold films now, something they believe in,” said Mr Kanda. Another movie buff, Saurabh Paul opined that mainstream cinema will never be interested in certain kinds of movies as most people do not care about meaningful, thought-provoking and often ‘real’ stories.

Sanjeev Kanda during the interaction
Saurabh Paul during the interactive session
The DraftCraft Interaction kicks off a series of Roundtables, Talks and Seminars held across DraftCraft’s Studios in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Goa.

Gajanan Khergamker’s Analysis on Amol Palekar’s PIL: Palekar PIL Could Change Censorship Law