In Focus

Film industry set to witness changes

A Draft Correspondent | Mumbai

The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Prakash Javadekar unveiled the new logo and certificate design of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on 31 August 2019 as part of a special interaction between the Indian film industry and CBFC board members. The event was organised by the CBFC in Mumbai and in attendance were Kangana Ranaut, Satish Kaushik, Madhur Bhandarkar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Boney Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Sanjay Khan, Ramesh Sippy, Anupama Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Kunal Kohli, Prahlad Kakkar, Kiran Shantaram, Sudhir Mishra, Atul Kasbekar, Vidya Balan and Siddharth Roy Kapur from the film fraternity. Also present were I&B Secretary Amit Khare and CBFC Chairman Prasoon Joshi.

From right: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, CBFC Chairman Prasoon Joshi and I&B Secretary Amit Khare lighting the lamp at the inaugural ceremony
Addressing the guests, Chief Guest Prakash Javadekar said the introduction of QR code in the new certificate design is in sync with the ever-changing digital world and it's a step towards greater transparency and providing richer information to film-makers. The Minister also congratulated CBFC for the efficient discharge of its functions. Mr Javadekar added, "When cable television and later DTH were introduced, people never imagined that prices of TV channels could be so low but it will soon happen after the TRAI order. These days due to social media, with just one or two shows, it becomes clear whether a film will succeed or not."

Noting the importance of entertainment in present-day life, the Minister made an appeal to all television producers to use technology for visually-impaired people so they understand films better. He said, "Such technology can be used at a cost of Rs one or two lakh per film. Similarly, private news channels should also try to bring out at least one bulletin per week for deaf people."

Speaking about the upcoming golden jubilee edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, Mr Javadekar said, "IFFI this year will be very special. The theme of IFFI 2019 is Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat and the opening and closing ceremonies will reflect the theme. I appeal to everyone to come and attend. The honourable Prime Minister has said that film is an industry too and we are trying to have a Film Business Summit which will look into the business aspect of films. Film Bazaar is also planned to be organized in Mumbai to look into business promotion, technology diffusion and export promotion."
The new CBFC logo

The government is now amending the Cinematograph Act, after changing the Copyright Act, to curb piracy and protect rights of artists. The Minister invited suggestions and recommendations from the audience and other stakeholders regarding certification and regulation of online content.

Commenting on the new design of the CBFC certificate, CBFC Chariman Prasoon Joshi stated, "I believe the design should reflect the contemporary digital world and leverage the ease that technology has brought in our work processes. The design change is not cosmetic, it is extremely functional and underlines the CBFC’s positive value-added approach."

Mr Joshi highlighted the various initiatives taken by CBFC during the last few years for the benefit of the film industry. He said that the Board has been playing an active and positive role in taking forward the issues of the industry by bringing in greater transparency and smoother processes. Today, film-makers can find every detail about any film on the CBFC website. The Animal Welfare Board of India issues have been simplified. Consultative approach has resulted in a more collaborative process. He said, "if we are anchored in collective human good, there is no way we will not be able to find solutions through a dialog approach." Mr Joshi was extremely appreciative of his Board members who have been instrumental in taking this forward. The board comprises Narendra Kohli, Vani Tripathi Tikoo, Naresh Chander Lal, Neil Herbert Nongkynrih, Vidya Balan, Waman Kendre, Vivek Agnihotri, Gautami Tadimalla, T S Nagabharana, Jeevitha Rajasekhar, Ramesh Patange and Mihir Bhuta.

CBFC Chairman Prasoon Joshi speaking at the event

Speaking about the evolution of art, Mr Joshi quipped, "art used to be participative and built on the idea of co-creation. However, condescension entered into the field later with the performer being active and the audience passive. Technology has now introduced a new reality of active performer and active audience, giving voice to the people. When art goes out, the intent of the artist is sometimes not understood, due to different vantage points of people and this necessitates some extra effort to make oneself understood."

Talking about culture, the Chairman said, "cultural symbols such as language are part of the collective subconscious and their choice can only be decided collectively. Trust between the audience and creative people is paramount. If trust in artists is lost, it will have a harmful effect on our world. There can only be dialogue, not diktat, when it comes to cultural expression and this is the approach adopted by the CBFC. It is important to listen to the murmurs in society to be sensitive to the disadvantaged." He also highlighted the need to educate citizens about the meaning of various film ratings.

The new design is futuristic in its approach and in sync with the fast-evolving digital world. It is also interactive in its design sensibility where by scanning the QR code, more information on the certificate can be obtained online. Prasoon Joshi has conceptualised the new look of the certificate, designed by Rohit Devgun with technical support from NSDL.

On the occasion, CBFC Mumbai Regional Officer Tushar Karmakar presented an overview of the recent activities, initiatives and achievements of the board such as E-Cinepramaan - the online film certification system of CBFC - initiated by the-then I&B Minister in March 2017 to promote transparency and ease of doing business. Frequent meetings with members of the industry at different forums and creating opportunities for the film fraternity and the government representatives to meet and interact is also a step in this direction. He stated the Board's approach has led to improved mutual understanding and appreciation by the film fraternity.

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