Govt considering CBFC ratings for home viewing of films

NEW DELHI, May 6: In the aftermath of the controversy over television screening of ‘The Dirty Picture’, the Government is mulling a separate rating mechanism for films meant to be watched on TV.

“The creation of a separate mechanism for home viewing of films is being very seriously considered. The issue has been discussed in recent meeting of officials in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry,” an official source said.

“The ministry also has the option to bar channels from airing U/A rated films before 11 pm, something which many TV channels do at present,” the source said.

The ministry has been forced to review its policy after it had to step in to stop ‘The Dirty Picture’ from being aired by Sony TV during general viewing hours.

The Dirty Picture, a 2011 film inspired by the life of South Indian actress Silk Smitha, had been initially given an ‘A’ (adult only) rating but subsequently got a U/A (parental guidance) after 59 audio video cuts.

Sony channel wanted to air the film on April 22 at noon and 8 PM before the Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued an order to stop it.

The channel had held that the film had a U/A rating, which was like many other films showed on TV, but the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) held that under the programme code, U/A cannot be shown on TV in the afternoon or evening.

Officials said while the CBFC ratings are meant for theatre screenings of films, these are used to judge whether these movies can be shown on TV. The TV programmes are regulated under the Cable TV Networks rules, 1994.

“To ensure that confusion, like that happened in the case of ‘The Dirty Picture’ does not recur, the government will take a decision on a new mechanism to ensure clarity over which films can be allowed for unrestricted viewing and which cannot,” the source said. (PTI)