Can Prasoon Joshi transform the CBFC?

17 Aug,2017


By A Correspondent


When the announcement was made last Friday on celebrated lyricist, writer and adman Prasoon Joshi’s appointment as the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification, there was a sense of jubilation amongst most in the fraternity. The Amul ad summed it up right when it said: “Joshi Se Sab Prasann Hai”.


Prasoon Joshi

He’s the right guy for the job, was the spontaneous view. It’s not a Censor Bboard but a film certification board, so Joshi, a younger, B-school educated and progressive as chairperson was a masterstroke for the government which has been embarrassed much by the last man on the job – Pahlaj Nihalani.


There were some who wondered why Joshi had to take up the job, especially when it’s a thankless one. Said a friend of Joshi’s and an industry senior: “There is a saying in Hindi which goes ‘aa baiil mujhe maar’. One really wonders why Joshi had to take it up and invite trouble when it’s been super journey for him otherwise.”



And then there was quote from Joshi from an interview to CNN-News18 that has been doing the rounds: “If the intent [of the filmmaker] is portrayal, I’m fine with it. If the intent is to manipulate, to exploit, and create cheap publicity out of it, I have a problem with it.”


The statement has already been slammed by film-maker Mukesh Bhatt, and indeed if Joshi and his newly constituted CBFC Board will burn the midnight oil on deciphering the intent of a film-maker, he could well be walking in the direction of his predecessor.


Joshi and an I&B minister who has a good understanding of the craft would do well to redefine the terms of the censor board and the various rules that govern it. Some of them need to be junked and must be changed with immediate effect.


All of it is not going to be easy even though the BJP government enjoys a majority. If the CBFC decides to go easy on films with bold themes and dialogues it could earn the wrath of various elements in the ruling dispensation. And if it decides to go tough on films that cross the lines as defined by them, Joshi & Co will earn the ill-well of the progressive set.


However, while the job may seem thankless and tough on execution, if Joshi can strike the right balance, he will the new star of the entertainment world.


But if he’s not able to be the progressive CBFC chairman that everyone expects him to be, there will be a huge irreversible negative rub-off on his reputation.


So far, in advertising and in cinema, Prasoon Joshi’s image has been squeaky clean. If at the end of his tenure, he manages to retain the same, we could well see him climb greater heights.

We wish him well.


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