Giving a huge blow to the freedom of expression, the Government of India announced its plans of introducing the new Cinematograph Amendment (Bill) 2021. This new draft proposes to amend the Cinematograph Act of 1952 with provisions that will provide powers to the central government to re-examine films that are already given clean-chit by the Censor Board for Film Certification (CBFC).
The act indirectly means that the government can ban or take action on any film that got clearance from the censor board. Many celebrities of various film industries are raising their voice against this bill. They are asking people to sign a petition against it.
From Bollywood, people like Anurag Kashyap, Hansal Mehta, Farhan Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Dibakar Banerjee, and a few others signed an open letter requesting the government not to implement this bill.
Even the Tamil film industry celebrities have also started raising their voice. Kamal Haasan, Suriya, Gautam Menon, and PC Sreeram took on social media to oppose the proposal of the government.
“Cinema, media, and the literati cannot afford to be the three iconic monkeys of India. Seeing, hearing, and speaking of impending evil is the only medication against attempts to injure and debilitate democracy. Please act, voice your concern for freedom and liberty. @MIB_India #cinematographact2021 #raiseyourvoice,” tweeted Kamal Haasan.
“The law is to protect freedom of expression … not to strangle its voice … #cinematographact2021 #FreedomOfExpression,” wrote Suriya.
Gautam Menon stated, “The proposed amendment to the Cinematograph Act if implemented will be a big blow to freedom of Speech in Art.”
Ace cinematographer PC Sreeram opined, “Laws of freedom of expression are to protect it and not to strangle it. Film fraternity should strongly oppose the proposed amendment to the #cinematography act.”
While the folks of other industries are raising their voices, people in the Telugu film industry are staying silent on the issue. Tollywood is one of the largest industries in the country which produces a massive number of films and generates a lot of revenue every year. It has big stars of national influence like Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, Mahesh Babu, Pawan Kalyan, and Prabhas. None of them spoke about the issue.
This is not the first time Tollywood actors tried to play a safe game in political issues of cinema. They always do the same. They try to be in the good books of the ruling party and just go with the flow of events. That might be the reason why we lack revolutionary films and filmmakers, who can question society.
The only Tollywood celebrity who opposed this bill is Ram Gopal Varma, who posted a series of tweets this morning. He wrote, “Can it be shown or should it be cut? the age-old debate on CENSORSHIP continues… The truth is that Censorship in any form only serves the government to be seen in good light. The only true censorship for an individual is for him to have a choice of not seeing the film, and that choice has to be made only by him through the means of how the filmmaker pitched the subject matter to him through a campaign. It is an insult to all the millions of people that a handful of people can claim to protect millions of people from the evils of what is being shown on the screen by CENSORING it.”
“At best the government should be responsible to make all the film viewers know the specific elements in the content of films, very much like they do about the ingredients of food or a medicinal product. Government logic is people are smart enough to vote but are dumb enough not to know what to see or not to see in the cinema,” he further added.
As the debate is getting heated up and many celebrities are joining the movement, we have to see if our Tollywood ‘heroes’ raise their voices or stay silent as usual.
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