The Ministry of Law and Justice has reportedly abolished the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) with immediate effect. Filmmakers and producers took to Twitter to express their disappointment.
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta tweeted on Wednesday: "Do the high courts have a lot of time to address film certification grievances? How many film producers will have the means to approach the courts? The FCAT discontinuation feels arbitrary and is definitely restrictive. Why this unfortunate timing? Why take this decision at all?"
"Such a sad day for cinema. FILM CERTIFICATION APPELLATE TRIBUNAL ABOLISHED | 6 April, 2021," expressed filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj.
Producer Guneet Monga reacted: "How does something like this happen? Who decides?"
Producer and trade business analyst Girish Johar tweeted: "With #FCAT dissolved by Govt, mayb a larger body may come up, setup by Govt, which will not only address censor grievances of films, but raised issues of other content as well..#Online #OTT #Short #SocialMedia..kuchch toh aayega, makers cant afford, nor Govt can't burden courts more (sic)."
Filmmaker and producer Jai Mehta and actor Richa Chadha also tweeted about their shock at the news. Jai Mehta expressed surprise at how such a move could happen overnight and if anyone saw it coming.
Before releasing in theatres, every film in India has to be certified by the Central Board of Film Certification or CBFC, which is also often referred to as the Censor Board. However, if any filmmaker is unhappy with a change suggested by the CBFC, they could go and challenge the decision at the FCAT.
With the FCAT abolished, filmmakers who are unhappy with the CBFC's decision will now have to go to court with grievances.
Films which have been benefitted by the FCAT in the recent past include Udta Punjab (2016), Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017), Babumoshai Bandookbaaz (2017), Kaalakaandi (2018) and Rangeela Raja (2019) among others.