GUWAHATI, October 28: A senior Assam government official on Sunday said everything cannot be approved in the name of creativity as it may create problems, and advocated “reasonable restrictions” in selecting a film for festivals, which usually do not have any censorship.
However, during a discussion at the 2nd Guwahati International Film Festival (GIFF) here, filmmakers from other countries favoured abolition of censorship and asked people to raise voice against any government pressure.
“In the name of creativity, we cannot approve everything. It may create problems,” Assam Revenue Board Chairman V B Pyarelal said at the discussion on “Smaller Festivals: Breaking New Grounds” here.
He was responding to a query on censorship on selection of movies as films were withdrawn in recent times from some renowned festivals including the International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kerala.
“Reasonable restrictions are there and it should be there. A film should not create problems with other countries,” said Pyarelal, who was Additional Chief Secretary looking after the Finance and Culture departments before being promoted to the Revenue Board.
The bureaucrat, who was also in the Union Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry and was involved with the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), said he used to issue exemption certificates for various film festivals.
For a public screening, a film has to have either a censor certificate or an exemption certificate.
Since 2016, uncensored films can be screened at a festival on the condition that they receive an exemption certificate from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
“For giving the (exemption) certificate, the films are seen by a competent authority. There is another clause that only invited guests will view it in the festival and there will be no ticketing,” he added.
Renowned film curator Srinivasa Santhanam, who is also the advisor of GIFF, said no international film festival in India has “censorship”.
Cambodian filmmaker praCh Ly appealed to the people to protest any pressure tactics of the government in screening a particular film that may be critical of it.
Ly, who is currently US-based and also a well-known rapper, said the South Korean government has withdrawn from a film festival it used to fun after a documentary on corruption was screened.
But the government returned after the festival director managed to run the event successfully by raising funds from elsewhere.
During the discussion, all the panelists praised the 2nd GIFF and hoped that it will be bigger in coming years, making it an important international film festival of India.
Moderator of the session Rahul Jain, also the Artistic Director of GIFF, said the budget of the current edition of the festival is over 4,00,000 USD (about Rs 3 crore). (PTI)