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Hansal Mehta files RTI over censor board's "discrimination" against Shahid

  | January 21, 2014 18:30 IST (Mumbai)
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Hansal Mehta wants to know why Ram-Leela was given U/A certificate and Shahid an A

Hansal Mehta is upset with the Central Board of Film Certification's criterion for awarding certificates to movies and has filed an RTI application, asking why Ram-Leela was given U/A certificate and his Shahid an A.

Hansal Mehta is upset with the Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) criterion for awarding certificates to movies and has filed an RTI application, asking why Ram-Leela was given U/A certificate and his Shahid an A.
He feels the censor board was unfair when it awarded U/A certificates to Ram-Leela and Madras Cafe.
The director took to Twitter to share the news about his RTI application.
"Filed a RTI about U/A certificate to Ram-Leela," Hansal posted on the microblogging site on Tuesday.
He feels that the censor board is "discriminating" against his film.
"Have nothing against Ram-Leela and Madras Cafe. It is about CBFC discriminating against my film when granting it A-certificate," he added.
Shahid, a biopic on slain human rights activist and advocate Shahid Azmi, hardly had any violent scenes, wrote Mehta. He blames its poor box office numbers on the A-certificate.
"Madras Cafe has scenes of violence and these are quite graphic. Yet it was granted a U/A certificate. What was so violent about Shahid?" he tweeted.
"The CBFC cannot pretend to be liberal and strict based on criteria best known to them. My film's business was jeopardized because of CBFC."
The Dus Kahaniyaan director feels that the censor board should have been more sensitive to Shahid as it is an "important story".
"Shahid deserved a U/A certificate and a tax free status. It is an important story. Instead, it had an 'A' certificate and overpriced tickets," he posted.
"Discrimination is a function of financial muscle. The CBFC and its selective liberalism is testimony to that. The outdated cinematograph act is strictly applicable to films without stars or big budgets. For others the CBFC is liberal and broad-minded," wrote Mehta.
He also shared the censor board's response to his RTI query on Twitter, which stated: "Since the film was given U/A certificate, ie the scenes of kissing and action were allowed with parental guidance."
"U/A certificate itself cautions the parents that there may be certain visuals which they may or may not like their children below 12 years of age to see. Accordingly, the committee decided to give a 'U/A' certificate. Many films in the past which were certified as 'U/A' have visuals of action and kissing."
But Mehta doesn't seem to be satisfied with the reason.
"Shahid had no kissing, had very little violence and we offered to replace/mute expletives. Yet we were told it had to get a 'A' certificate," wrote the director, adding that he is "filing many RTIs for films certified by CBFC in 2013".
"CBFC must be exposed for its double standards. Any suggestions for films?"

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