Bollywood up in arms as India’s film certification appeals process is scrapped without warning

Industry insiders fear the move will delay releases, deprive grassroots filmmakers of a platform for airing their grievances and lead to more censorship, as Peony Hirwani reports

Thursday 08 April 2021 12:50
<p>File image: Indian Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan</p>

File image: Indian Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan

When India’s main film certification body refused to allow a firebrand feminist film to be aired a few years back, an appellate body came to its rescue – acting as it had done so many times in its chequered history of four decades, settling disputes in one of the world’s largest and most prolific film industries.

Back in 2017 director Alankrita Shrivastava reached out to the tribunal which suggested a few changes and ordered the main central board to grant an “A” (adult) certification to Lipstick Under My Burkha, after which the film was released.

However, filmmakers are now worried that the justice ministry’s move to abolish the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) without any prior warning will expose them to India’s lugubrious court processes and litigation costs. Producers will now have to approach the high court instead of FCAT for “redressal of their grievances.” 

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