The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) decided to give an ‘A’ certificate to item numbers, with the idea of not letting women be portrayed as merely objects on screen after the heated debates post the Delhi gang rape. This decision also means that the promos of these songs will not be aired at the prime time on television.
Initially, the CBFC decided to give Priyanka Chopra’s song ‘Babli Badmaash’ in Shootout at Wadala the ‘A’ certificate, which surprised the industry. The certificate would not allow the song to be promoted on television at the prime time. Tanuj Garg from Balaji Motion Pictures said that they were informed about the certification after submitting it. “We were obviously taken by surprise and told the CBFC that we were not aware about any such regulation. We were later told that this is not a direct rule but the certification will be done according to the content of a film,” he added.
By writing to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, The Film and Television Producers Guild stated that they deserve to be informed about these regulations. They clarified how these special songs are used as promotional videos and calling dance songs as ‘item numbers’ will hamper all their pre-release marketing plans.
As expected, the film industry is not in agreement with this certification move. A senior producer said that an item number is a term that is very subjective and has no such vulgar meaning attached to it. “This is not a dictionary word and a rule cannot be made for something so arbitrate,” he pointed out.
Actress Bipasha Basu feels that blaming the film industry and dance numbers for crime against women is not justified. “Songs have been a part of the industry forever. The industry is just being targeted as someone has to be blamed,” she said.
Tigmanshu Dhulia recently faced an issue with cutting a song for a promotion on television from Saheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns, and he added this, “The CBFC did not allow us to cut a song for a promo. What is the use of trying to promote a film if we cannot play the songs of it on television for people to see? Songs boost our marketing. What the CFBC needs to concentrate their energy into is when they don’t object to the ‘moral police’ protests against films that have been given a thumbs up by them. That not being all, I was also not able to sell the satellite rights of SBGR because of the ‘A’ certification. I had to cut down a lot of scenes.”
CBFC chairperson Leela Samson denies any such move and said,” I want to clarify that the board has taken no such decision. According to the guidelines for trailers, films and everything else included, the certification is done according the age group that the film is suitable for and will cater to. Therefore, dance numbers will be certified from song to song and no such direct move has been decided,” she confirmed.
However, the CBFC put the song through the Revising Committee and the committee cleared the song by giving it a U/A certificate.