The sudden elimination of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has been criticized by some of the most eminent filmmakers and producers in the Hindi film industry. To understand the impact this move of the government will have on the film industries in India, we spoke to some people in the industry who either have experience of working closely with tribunals, or in some way benefit from it. is.
Actress Sharmila Tagore, who was the chairman of CBFC from 2004 to 2011, shared her opinion on the elimination of the body with indianexpress.com. “I don’t know what the reasoning is, what was the reason for doing it.” I do not want to comment on this. But the FCAT was a body chaired by a judge and they were very distinguished members, ”she told indianexpress.com.
He said how the tribunal has helped the filmmakers in the past. “If a film ran into a problem with CBFC, or if for some reason they felt we were being so unfair, they could go to this place and they could argue their case. In fact, I wanted them to enhance the role of FCAT because if you remember, there were many public interest litigation like Jodha Akbar and many other films. One would complain to one city, and then another to the city. I remember that the makers of Jodha Akbar ran from pillar to post. I felt that a legal body already existed, so that body cannot look into these PILs and then later, the courts are always present. The problem with the court is that everything takes a little longer. Producers cannot afford it. For them, a week’s loss is also huge. “
Babumoshai Bandukbaz (2017) director Kushan Nandi remembers how FCAT played a key role when CBFC did not approve the film starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui. “Going to the High Court is not a cup of tea for everyone. It is sad that the FCAT has been abolished, where will the small filmmakers now go for redress? Now there is no backup plan for those who will have a difficult time with CBFC. The FCAT will listen to us and provide suggestions and solutions rationally and advise CBFC accordingly. The abolition of the FCAT is like snatching away our freedom of speech! While it is great that we can still go to the High Court for justice, but how many people can afford it? It is truly a sad day for cinema, because now the filmmakers have lost a kind of support system, ”he said.
Prakash Jha, who has more experience in contacting FCAT for his films, says he “does not see a big difference because FCAT is a semi-fuel body”. “All my films have gone through the FCAT. So, going to the High Court or FCAT means the same. The FCAT also consists of a judge. Therefore, I am not too worried about the FCAT being abolished. It all depends on who the FCAT judge is because even the members of the FCAT had no authority. I know this very well. I would much rather go to HC than FCAT.
In fact, Jha says that it is censorship that we need to end. He said, “We need to end censorship. Unless there are issues related to national integrity, only certification should exist, not cut. Furthermore, censorship should not exist. People are smart enough to like themselves. “
He added, “My simple example is because Prasoon Joshi has been the head of CBFC, there has hardly been any controversy over a film. Why has this happened? There is a reasonable argument. Was mentioned, but it was not like this before. How did this happen? So, what are we talking about unnecessarily? The government is trying to ease management and you have the option to go to court after the FCAT. “So, now you go straight. High courts always listen to film cases because the film is about to be released and the courts know that a producer’s money is at stake,” he concluded.
Poonam Dhillon, who was part of the five-member FCAT along with retired Justice SK Mahajan, journalist Shekhar Iyer, lawyer Bina Gupta and Shazia Ilmi, tells us that the filmmakers will be greatly influenced by the decision to abolish the tribal.
He said, “FCAT had a very important role. The tribunal took into consideration the approach of the censor board and the manufacturers. Sometimes I think it is important to keep updated over time, the kind of content that is available today, we cannot stick to the rules created in the ’50s and’ 60s. We have to understand that today we have to be relevant. The FCAT understood this fact and kept the rules in mind as much as possible for the producers. “
Dhillon placed the burden on the courts as well as the producers at stake. “This is not going to be easy for manufacturers, because going to court is a very long process and an expensive one. They cannot function without their own legal teams, because they will not know how much hearing or delay will take place now. I think FCAT is definitely going to be something that producers will miss around. Movies are time bound. Keeping all this in mind, I am sure that the requirement of the manufacturers will be to ‘give us digital releases’ rather than going through a lengthy process. I am sure the government will have some options instead of putting more pressure on the courts.
While the abolition of the FCAT is surprising to many, Dhillon says he had heard about it and was already trying to talk to some producers about it. He said, “When I heard about it, I tried to talk to some film people about it, but I couldn’t reach out anyway. I felt that they needed to be aware of it and They need to represent their point of view. I am sure that the I&B ministry will be open to listen to them. I believe that all stakeholders should be consulted before making a decision for any industry. “