New Delhi, Oct. 19: A panel reviewing the cinematography act has recommended that the Central Board of Film Certification should clear the lyrics of film songs.
Sources said the eight-member panel, set up by the I&B ministry, made the recommendation after taking note of objections by a section of society to vulgar lyrics and “item songs”.
“The committee has recommended that while the visual content and dialogues that precede and succeed such songs are subject to certification, it is only logical to include the lyrics in the ambit of scrutiny,” a ministry source said.
Headed by Mukul Mudgal, a retired chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, the panel has submitted its report on proposed amendments to the Cinematograph Act of 1952 to the government. Actor Sharmila Tagore, lyricist Javed Akhtar, top court lawyer Rameeza Hakeem and CBFC chairperson Leela Samson were on the panel.
Noting that the act was enacted at a time when there were fewer movie halls and that cinema had undergone a huge transformation since then, the panel said the definition of “film” should be changed to include songs, lyrics and advertising material.
The report said the sole endeavour in the past was to hold a successful screening of a film. But now a series of parallel events was associated with it, one of which was the “audio release” of the film’s songs.
While films were restricted to an age-specific audience in theatres, songs were promoted and broadcast in the public domain, such as over radio, at public events and in restaurants, the panel pointed out.
It also suggested amendments to establish that states could not suspend screening of films after clearance by the CBFC as the matter came under central jurisdiction.
The panel said two age-specific categories should be added to the four existing film certification categories for 12+ and 15+ viewers. The existing categories are U (for universal viewing), A (for adult viewing), U/A (children can view with parental guidance) and S (for specialised viewing, such as doctors).
The committee was set up last February after Tamil Nadu banned the screening of Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam despite CBFC clearance. Muslim groups had protested against the film, claiming it showed their religion in bad light.
At that time, I&B minister Manish Tewari had said no state had the right to stop screening of a film as the matter came under central jurisdiction.