“Unnecessary violence and vulgarity of Indian films” is concerning a US-based Indian community leader.
Rajan Zed, the US-based president of Universal Society of Hinduism, is urging India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to retrain its team in “what India stood for” and what were our moral perimeters.
Zed wants Leela Samson, the newly appointed chairperson of the board, “to view the films as a regular Indian mother who was struggling to raise her children to become moral and successful citizens of India of tomorrow and not as the mother whose children attended night-clubs and late-night parties and knew no moral boundaries.”
The 59-year old chairperson of the Board is a dancer-choreographer-writer and chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi and is a recipient of a Padamshree award.
Zed said in a statement that seeing the continuous increase in the vulgarity and violence in Indian films, it appeared that the Board of the largest filmmaking country had lost the sense of India’s cultural milieu and was ignoring the directions given in the Cinematograph Act.
He said that they were fully supportive of the artistic freedom and expression and did not want any unnecessary censorship, but were highly concerned about the increasing presence of the immodest, explicit and risqué scenes in the movies which were there simply for “mercantile greed” having nothing to do with cinematic elements.
In a conservative country like India, Bollywood not only influences life but also reflects the values that its citizens hope to preserve. The growing middle-class in the world’s fifth-largest economy is creating conflicting values, which are portrayed in many Bollywood movies.
Zed stresses that the country’s Cinematograph Act lays down that a film has to be certified keeping “morality” in mind, besides other things.
“What happened to the CBFC “guidelines for certification” like “human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity,” Zed asked.
CBFC (popularly known as Censor Board) is a statutory body under India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting regulating the public exhibition of films. Headquartered in Mumbai, it presently has 25 members.
India has 13,000 cinema halls and according to an estimate, every three months an audience as large as India’s entire population (about 1.17 billion) flock to the cinema halls.
The Mumbai-based film industry, popularly known as Bollywood, makes about 1000 movies every year in India, which is about twice the number of movies made in Hollywood.
While Bollywood is traditionally known for its song-and-dance sequences and masala films that cater to all genres like action, comedy, romance and melodrama, sex and violence have dominated the films in the last few decades.