Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj made some bold comments on the Censor board recently on curbing the freedom of filmmakers. However, his statements have not gone well with some members of the CBFC. We exclusively got in touch with Vani Tripathi Tikoo, who was the former spokesperson for the Bhartiya Janta Party and an actress and she had a lot to say on the filmmaker's statements.
Speaking about the same, she said "It's very disappointing, I have great respect for Vishal Ji, he's also somebody I know very well. It's very disappointing that at this point of time he's saying this. I know that the CBFC has been in controversy and dark ages as far as creative freedom is concerned. But I think present board under Prasoon Joshi, of which I'm also a part, of which Vidya Balan and Gautami are a part, it's very disappointing that unnecessarily he should be saying this right now and I'm saying this with great responsibility."
Vani also explained that how the current CBFC has been the most progressive one in a while as she said, "This is the first time in the past one year, the board is oversensitive to filmmakers. In fact, we get brickbatted all the time that you're allowing all kind of content to go out. So I mean we always say that who are we to allow or not allow anybody, it is the filmmaker's prerogative to what film a person wants to make."
Talking about the digital platform, she added that it was not the lookout of the censor board, "There is no regulation on digital content as yet in India and CBFC has nothing to do with what content is playing out in the digital format. Because we only look at certification content for theatrical releases. So it's very disappointing on one hand board is mending its bridges with the film industry."
Then she got to the issue where Mr. Bhardwaj raised concerns over animal welfare boards and no smoking disclaimers. Speaking about that issue, she clarified, "A large board meeting happened two months ago in 25 years for the first time in which the whole board met. Film bodies from across the nation, more than 10 film bodies had come. And yes they had a lot of reservation about the animal welfare board which Vishal is also talking about. But again the animal welfare board is under another ministry, the ministry of environment. Similarly, they had a lot of concerns about smoking disclaimers, again that is something which is under the ambit of the ministry of health. So as far as CBFC is concerned, I think we're taking a huge leap forward to open conversations with filmmakers."
Finally concluding her take on Mr. Bhardwaj's comments she said, "This is the first time there is a very sensitive board sitting which actually wants to create a healthy and constructive atmosphere. And I think people should contribute to the discourse instead of unfounded remarks. I fail to understand why Mr. Bhardwaj would have said something like this."
Coming to Abhishek Chaubey, the maker of 'Udta Punjab' who also used strong words against CBFC, she said, "But he went to court and his controversy happened in the last dispensation. What problem does Mr. Chaubey have with the present board I fail to understand? I was also the part of the last board, so I know, I understand the troubles which were occurring. Mr. Nihalani himself has locked horns with the board I don't know for what reason."
Asked if there is a solution for this constant war of words, Vani offered, " They should sit across and speak with us about the issues and not talk on forums in festivals. At the end of the day, the industry is one, it's like a camaraderie, we all belong to the same industry. We should be talking to each other and not talking at each other by making remarks like this."
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