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IFFI 2021: Cinematograph Act won't be amended in winter session of Parliament, says I&B minister

At an informal meeting with journalists over breakfast, the minister said the government is currently compiling the suggestions received and has not arrived at a decision.

Photo: Courtesy of Anurag Thakur on Instagram

Shriram Iyengar

At an informal meeting with reporters over breakfast on the inaugural day of the 52nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Singh Thakur said the controversial proposed amendments to the Cinematograph Act will not be placed before Parliament in the forthcoming winter session.

The minister said the government is in the process of compiling the suggestions received from various quarters and will mull over them before making a final decision.

"We are taking in the suggestions for now," Thakur said. "It is in the process. We are taking suggestions from everyone about the act and everyone should participate. The process of making the law begins after that. The suggestions come first. This is the consultation process where all the stakeholders place their points of view."

Drafted in June 2021, the amendments to the act were roundly criticized at the time with filmmakers worried about the overview power it would give the government. Back in June, filmmaker Shyam Benegal had expressed his disappointment to Cinestaan.com, saying, "If you have the CBFC [Central Board of Film Certification], why does the government have to come in? The CBFC is there to screen films, audio-visual material that is produced by different groups, professionals and amateurs. If it’s there, what role does the government have?"

A number of filmmakers have written to the ministry with their suggestions, including dropping the idea of recertification of films already cleared for public exhibition by the CBFC and reinstatement of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.

Without commenting on any of the contentious issues, Thakur promised that the government would do its research well before taking any decision. "All the data will be compiled and the ideas formulated afterwards," he said. Asked if there was a deadline for the process, he confirmed that the amendments will not be taken up in the winter session of Parliament.

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Censorship Indian cinema IFFI