7:42 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

Govt has been meddling with every film, including PK

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Leela Samson, the outgoing chief of India’s censor board who resigned in protest, has accused the NDA government of “coercion” and interfering with her decisions on several films, including the Amir Khan-starrer Bollywood blockbuster, PK.

In an interview to Hindustan Times, Samson accused the information and broadcasting ministry of stifling her functioning by meddling in “every new film being released, big and small”. The charges have been denied by Rajyavardhan Rathore, the minister of state for information and broadcasting.

These charges are baseless,” Rathore said. In an earlier interview, Rathore had told HT that the government was trying to ensure that the censor board members don’t misuse their positions and trying to zero in on a new chief for the board.

Samson’s term had expired last September but it was being extended on a temporary basis every three months.

Asked how the government had influenced the board, Samson said: “There was total interference on every film, big and small. A lot of pressure was put on the film PK through various fundamentalist organisations and through panel members of the board to cut scenes.”

She said the ministry disagreed with audience certifications for most films. “If we gave an ‘U’, they would want an A certificate,” she said.

Samson said the reasons for her decision to quit include “interference, coercion and corruption of panel members and officers of the organisation who are appointed by the (information) ministry and having to manage an organisation whose Board has not met for over nine months as the Ministry had ‘no funds’ to permit the meeting of members”.

Samson said the government was trying to interfere in the working of the Central Board of Film Certificate by the information ministry by appointing an “additional charge CEO”

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