New Delhi: The government on Friday constituted a committee headed by film-maker Shyam Benegal to look into the revamp of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

The committee, which will submit its report in two months, also includes film-maker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Piyush Pandey and film critic Bhawana Somaaya. National Film Development Council managing director Nina Lath Gupta and joint secretary (films) Sanjay Murthy will also be part of the committee.

The government said in a statement that the panel has been formed “in sync with the vision" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The recommendations of the committee are expected to provide a holistic framework and enable those tasked with the work of certification of films to discharge their responsibilities keeping in view this framework, the statement said.

“During their deliberations, the committee will be expected to take note of the best practices in various parts of the world, especially where the film industry is given sufficient and adequate space for creative and aesthetic expression," the statement said.

The committee will recommend broad guidelines, procedures under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, and rules for the benefit of the chairperson and other members of the screening committee. The staffing pattern of the CBFC will also be looked into in an effort to recommend a framework which would provide efficient, transparent user-friendly services, the statement added.

The announcement on Friday came within days of information and broadcasting (I&B) minister Arun Jaitley saying that the “time has come" to have a re-look at the functioning of the CBFC as he would like the Censor Board to be “controversy- free".

Film-makers have complained of arbitrary objections and cuts sought by the Censor Board in the recent past, including criticism for cuts in the latest James Bond movie Spectre for screening in India. A list of banned “cuss" words, circulated by CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani had also become a subject of controversy.

Benegal said the I&B ministry “spoke to me a couple of days ago on telephone and I am yet to know exactly what the proposal is. There is only one question that is asked to me whether I would like to be a member of the committee, which is looking into the problem of film certification. This is a committee formed by the government to see how effective, transparent and satisfactory the system is." PTI

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