Dear Censor Board,
India has perhaps the largest audience for movies across the world. The Censor Board has the onerous responsibility of regulating the public exhibition of films. A creative director would like to try out bold themes which might not find general approval.
The role of Censor Board is to certify films for general / restricted viewing. The question is whether they should act as ‘moral police’ too to guard the society against films that are too radical while depicting human relations. How much is too much is always an issue that has no easy answer. While the conservative population won’t accept any drastic change in the relationship that exists in a society, any bold but controversial theme that is bound to create ripples and adverse reactions would not be allowed by the Censor Board for general viewing as they want to play safe. If a filmmaker wants to break new ground in film-making by choosing bold and controversial issues, one is at the mercy of the Censor Board.
Is moral policing by the Censor Board acceptable in a civil and open society? The answer could be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depending on a person with different views from the generally accepted norms. For a few viewers, a routine run-of-the-mill movie is boring and so they would like to watch and judge for themselves something different. Is the Censor Board standing on a high moral ground and blocking progressive thoughts and ideas? Some years ago, certain undesirable traditions of a community were depicted in a film that raised heckles from the leaders of that community. Despite protests the movie was allowed to run with police protection.
It all boils down to what viewers want. Let the viewers choose. They are mostly balanced and intelligent enough to appreciate what is good and what is bad. The Censor Board could play a helpful role by giving viewers some idea on what to expect from the film—serious, frivolous, needs parental guidance, violence, obscene. It should certify a film accordingly and leave it to the distributors and exhibitors. Ultimately, the viewers make or mar a movie; let the viewers decide.