Kamal Haasan has joined several filmmakers like Vetril Maran, Anand Patwardhan and Malayalam filmmaker Kamal in criticising the bill.

Actor, Politician Kamal Haasan
news Cinematograph Bill Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 10:37

Actor-politician Kamal Haasan has joined other filmmakers to oppose the draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021. Taking to Twitter on Monday night, Kamal Haasan wrote, “Cinema, media and the literati cannot afford to be the three iconic monkeys of India. Seeing, hearing and speaking of impending evil is the only medication against attempts to injure and debilitate democracy.” He also urged others to act and voice their concern for “freedom and liberty”. 

As per the Bill, the Union government can reexamine and recertify the films that had already been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). On June 18, the Union government invited comments from the public on the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021, which would be an amendment on the Cinematograph Act 1952. The public can send comments till July 2.The new bill allows the Union government to demand recertification of already certified films in case of complaints. The government can penalise piracy and introduce age-based certification.

Several filmmakers including Vetri Maaran, Anand Patwardhan and Kamal had earlier raised objections to the Bill. Kamal, a Malayam filmmaker and chairperson of Kerala State Chalachitra Academy said movies go through multiple checks by the CBFC and ensure every criteria is met while certifying the film. “The board members are mostly there to protect the interest of the government in power. Adding to this a Bill is being brought by the government. Now anyone can complain and the film will be pulled off.”said Kamal.

He also said that if the film already in theatres is pulled off, it can incur great loss for the producers. “Moreover it simply means that no film that opposes the ideology of the Union government can be screened.”

Besides this, on the direction of the Union government, the Ministry of Law and Justice abruptly banned the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) in April this year. This drew criticisms from filmmakers across the country. 

Pointing out that the mainstream cinema is a strong political and social narrative, Vetri Maaran, a Tamil filmmaker said, “It is their way of trying to control the narrative.” Maaran had spoken to RK Selvamani, the Secretary of Tamil Nadu Directors Association about coming together to oppose the Bill.

Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan called the Bill illegal and unconstitutional. “What they are planning is completely illegal and unconstitutional. The Cinematograph Act cannot be unilaterally changed with retrospective effect. The idea that they can recall a certificate that has already been issued, on the basis of a few orchestrated complaints makes a mockery of the process. The RSS or any group that has the ear of the present regime can always mobilize such complaints,” he said. 

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