Anupam Kher calls the Indu Sarkar row 'ridiculous'
He feels that a united voice of the industry, like that raised before the release of Udta Punjab, needs to be heard
Veteran actor, and former censor board chief, Anupam Kher, who plays a pivotal role in Madhur Bhandarkar's Indu Sarkar, which is mired in controversy over its political flavour, has described the current position of the CBFC as ridiculous.
"What is happening in the censor board, is not only unfortunate, but ridiculous," Anupam said, on the sidelines of the recently concluded International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards.
"We are in the 21st century. I think people are responsible enough to not do certain things which they don't think they need to do. Yes, we have to have a sense of responsibility when we are creating something. But I think we should have the liberty to create what we want to create," added the actor, who served as censor board chief from 2003 to 2004.
Indu Sarkar is said to be a hard-hitting cinematic offering from National Award winning filmmaker Bhandarkar, whose idea behind making the movie was to tell the country's youth about the Emergency period which had a great impact on the nation. The film has characters modelled on former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi, which has lead to protests against the movie's release by members of a leading political party.
To make matters worse for Bhandarkar, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has suggested 12 cuts and two disclaimers, including removal of words like 'RSS' and 'Akali' from the film. But the filmmaker is fighting it out. After a verdict from the Revising Committee, he plans to take it to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which recently came to rescue of Lipstick Under My Burkha in a similar situation.
Anupam Kher, who has been in the film industry for over three decades, said, "The government instituted a board under the leadership of Mr Shyam Benegal soemtime ago. Their recommendations certainly need to be implemented and incorporated in the rule book of the Indian Censor Board. The present rule book is very old. It has been modified here and there but it needs to be revisited completely."
Does he feel this constant brouhaha over films with a political tinge is making filmmakers increasing wary about exploring the genre?
"It's happening in any case. You cannot tell people, 'Make this.' People are making what they want to make. In fact, I feel this is the golden era of Indian cinema. Also, we need to ignore negativity. We notice it too much."
The actor also added that a united voice of the industry - much like what was raised before the release of the controversial drama Udta Punjab - needs to be heard, and the troublemakers need to be ignored.