The Shyam Benegal-led committee constituted by the I&B ministry to examine the film certification process has said that static warnings that appear during every smoking scene in movies disturb smooth viewing. The Benegal committee was set up to suggest changes to the cinematography act.
Many filmmakers and actors have locked horns with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) over the guidelines on depicting smoking in films. Yet nothing changed. But now things are looking up with the Shyam Benegal committee suggesting that the current advisory, that appears every time a character is shown smoking on the screen, be replaced by a static visual that appears only once at the beginning of the film.
‘Statutory smoking kills warnings on screen every time an actor lights up in a movie may be done away with, if the government accepts recommendations from a committee headed by director Shyam Benegal.’
Such static, superimposed messages blight a film's visual narrative, the committee said, and recommended that a message underlining health hazards of smoking and tobacco consumption is sufficient at the beginning of a film or television telecast.
"A meaningful static disclaimer in the beginning of the film with standard visual background approved by the ministry of health may be shown for a minimum period along with an audio backing it," says a report of the eight-member panel to the information and broadcasting ministry.
Among other recommendations, about filmmakers procuring a no-objection certificate from the Animal Welfare Board, the Benegal committee has recommended that there should be "Licensed Suppliers" of 'Performing Animals' who are qualified in handling various animals and taking care of them as per law.
"A directory of "certified personnel" of the Board including veterinary personnel on the list of AWBI in different parts of the country may be published, who would be present at the time of shooting the performing animal scenes. Based on their reports, the Board could issue NOC," the report stated. It also stated that the fee for the services of such empanelled experts will be paid by producers directly to the Board.
The committee has recommended that it should be kept in mind whether a shot involving animal is a genuine natural shot or staged for filming which would involve the hiring, transportation of the animals.
"In such situations, a self-declaration by the producers to this effect should be submitted at the time of application to Central Board of Film Certification, in lieu of an NOC from the AWBI," the report has recommended.
The first set of recommendations was submitted in April and is currently being considered by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry. The second part was also submitted to the ministry recently and will be in the public domain soon.