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‘Why not give national awards to only ‘U’ certified films?’

By Nandita Dutta • Published on July 9, 2012

[D]oordarshan’s double standard policy to not telecast national award winning film I Am has not gone down well with the filmmaking fraternity. While it is a mandate to show all national award winning films, the public broadcaster shied away from Onir’s I Am as it has been given a U/A rating by the Central Board of Film Certification.

 “I think they should start giving national awards to only films with U certificate. In a nation of children where they don’t want us to grow up so they can manipulate us any which way, all the awards should also have an eligibility criteria of U certificate,” lashes out filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.

I Am, which won the 59th national award for Best Hindi Film and Best Lyrics, ironically is deemed fit for telecast on satellite channels which allow films with U/A ratings.

“What really angers me is how people stick to old rusted policies. If all satellite channels can telecast U/A films, why should Doordarshan audience be deemed unfit for the same,” Onir, director of I Am had said.

“This is absurd that a film that gets a national award is not allowed to be broadcast on Doordarshan. The policy needs to be reviewed. There can be a night slot for films with adult content, says Umesh Kulkarni, whose Deool won the 59th national award for Best Film.

“This is a violation of our fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression. The government itself seems confused about what is right and what is wrong, says national award winning director Nila Madhab Panda. ‘It can happen to any of us, and we need to talk about it,’ he adds.

Doordarshan also refused to telecast Shonali Bose’s film Amu that won two national awards in 2005.

“The government need not take over parenting responsibilities of its citizens. In the very first place we have a faulty Censor Board that makes decisions politically on what kind of rating to give a film. If the rating were correct – parents could make judicious decisions about what films to take their children to in the theater or allow them to watch on television. We need to stop being infantilized like this!” she says. Bose adds that in today’s world when anyone can watch anything on the internet, such absurd laws are hurting small independent films.

Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal says, “What’s new about that? Take it to the court. And they will have to show it one day.”

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