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Maturity test for TV nanny

- Censor board seeks consent to beam adult films uncut

New Delhi, Feb. 3: Movies with ‘A’ certificates could soon be shown on TV during ‘restricted late-night hours’ without any cuts under a plan put forward by the censor board.

Under the proposal, the board has asked the information and broadcasting ministry to allow the telecast of films with “mature content” between 11pm and 5am.

The proposal was given to ministry officials during a recent meeting with members of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), or the censor board, in Chennai.

“At present, all movies certified ‘Adult’ come to us for re-certification before they can be shown on satellite television. Such movies can be shown on TV only if they are reclassified ‘UA’ or ‘U’, which means content may have to be removed from an ‘A’ movie for it to be shown on TV. We are suggesting that the ministry reserve a late-night slot for films with mature content,” CBFC member Pankaj Sharma told The Telegraph.

The CBFC has proposed that such movies, mostly with sex, nudity or violence not fit for viewing by kids, be permitted during the late-night slots — known as “watershed” hours in some western countries.

In India now, adult movies can be aired during the 11pm-5am window but only after they are re-certified.

Sharma, the CBFC member, cited the example of The Dirty Picture to explain the implications of the plan under consideration.

“Currently, producers sell television rights to channels for movies originally rated ‘A’. These are then shown on TV during daytime after being re-certified ‘U/A’. But since such films have already created a buzz by that time, public interest is much higher and ad slots for these films are sold at exorbitant rates. It’s a big game involving broadcasters and advertisers. The controversy around the Vidya Balan-starrer The Dirty Picture, when it was shown on TV, is a case in point. ”

Sharma further said that the themes of some movies were such that modifying them to make them fit for TV viewing could take away their essence.

Information and broadcasting secretary Bimal Julka confirmed the issue was raised during the Chennai meeting and said the ministry was ready to examine the proposal after consulting all stakeholders.

Among other proposals, the censor board has renewed a suggestion made last year for new certification categories. “Currently, we only have ‘U’ for universal viewing, ‘U/A’ for universal/adult content and ‘A’ for only adult viewing. The new proposal recommends introducing ‘U-12’ for children above 12 and ‘U-15’ for those above 15,” said a member.