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Doesn't take 6 months to certify a film: No Fathers In Kashmir director is puzzled by CBFC

Ashvin Kumar's film has gone through three hearings with the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) and spent close to 100 days waiting for certification.

Shriram Iyengar

Despite being one of the youngest filmmakers in India, and an Academy award nominee to boot, Ashvin Kumar is not being treated with velvet gloves by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), colloquially known as the censor board.

Ashvin Kumar has criticized the board for taking more than 100 days to certify his film, No Fathers In Kashmir. The makers of the film had applied for certification in July, but the film remains stuck in the process.

The film is a love story of two 16-year-olds whose fathers have disappeared in Kashmir with no certainty of their return.

Ashvin Kumar has made two documentary short films earlier, Inshallah, Football (2010) and Inshallah, Kashmir (2012), both of which were first banned by the CBFC and later went on to win National awards.

The filmmaker has also decided to question and request for a revision the certification for No Fathers In Kashmir to U/A, equivalent to a PG-13 certification. However, the matter was applied to the FCAT, the final decision-making body for film certification.

The FCAT, at its sitting on 11 December, issued a written order that the CBFC revising committee give the film a proper hearing. The tribunal also asked the committee to watch the film again and give it a justified certification within 10 days, which deadline ended on 21 December. But the CBFC has asked for a further extension to give its order on the movie. 

Speaking on the issue, Ashvin Kumar said, "We went to the FCAT for relief, they returned it to the CBFC as the latter did not give us a legally mandated hearing. This is indicative of the CBFC's poor grasp of its mandate and legalities. It does not take six months to give a censor certificate and we still have no idea when we will get it. We have gone from two hearings in Bombay to one in Delhi and now back to Bombay and back again to Delhi. I don’t know which other filmmaker has been put through this wringer and I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions." 

The director added, "Our film, No Fathers In Kashmir, tries to show Kashmir through empathy and compassion. That is what I believe will bring peace, the next generation, armed with truth. If people start understanding the reality of what is going on there, they may stop believing the half-truths and outright lies of  propaganda and paid media."

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