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'Benegal committee recommends abolishment of censorship'

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra said the report submitted to the Information and Broadcasting ministry by Shyam Benegal committee, which was formed to solve the censorship issue, assures that freedom of expression will be "preserved".

The panel was set up to take a re-look at the functioning of Central Board of Film Certification, headed by Pahlaj Nihalani.

It includes actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan, Mehra, adman Piyush Pandey and film scribe Bhawana Somayaa, among others.

"What we (the committee) recommended is the immediate abolishment of censorship. There is complete clarity, there are no ifs and buts, there cannot be a scissor anymore in this great country. We need to preserve the freedom of expression," said Mehra.

"The recommendation is introduced based on age but no censorship," the filmmaker added.

The Shyam Benegal-headed committee constituted by the I&B ministry had submitted its report last year. Mehra said it is time the country gets rid of "censorship".

"Someone asked me what are the issues in front of you. I said we have no issues whatsoever, we have opportunities. I look at abolishing censorship as an opportunity, not as an issue. We have to do it, this generation will have to. Let's give it the next three years and see where we get," said Mehra.

The filmmaker, who has helmed critically acclaimed films like 'Rang De Basanti' and 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag', also stressed on the importance of building theatres and cultural centres.

Mehra said he at times finds piracy "good" as it enables people to see the content that is otherwise censored.

"We need to take the country along and not just three percent of the 100 billion we keep talking about," he added.

The director said the "good" content is of no use if it fails to reach its audience.

"Unless we start a revolution and the beginning of people's theatre, all that we create will have very little meaning," he added.

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