Amid a raging row over Udta Punjab, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said movie certification norms have to be liberal and "some very radical changes" will be announced over the next few days.
In his first comments on the row sparked by cuts sought by the Central Board of Film Certification on Udta Punjab, a film that depicts the problem of drug addiction in the state, he said, "I don't know this case because I have not seen the film in question."
Stating that he was "not satisfied" with the existing system of film certification, Jaitley said there are some changes that are about be made.
"There is a well documented report by Shyam Benegal, the first part which has come to me which is under consideration. Over the next few days, we are going to announce some very radical changes in that," he said.
The Committee, he said, has suggested some changes.
"You will probably have a system where you will have to have a certificate. The correct word is certification and not censorship. Certification norms will have to be liberal," he said speaking at the Indian of the Year Award by CNN TV 18 Group.
The CBFC has contended that Udta Punjab, a drug-themed crime thriller which is due to be released 17 June, needs several cuts on the grounds that it casts the state in a bad light by giving an impression that Punjab is a state full of addicts.
The numerous cuts sought sparked a confrontation between Bollywood filmmakers, the censor board and political parties. On the row, Jaitley said, "I think that we are overstating it because at the end of the day, you have a Board which takes a view which may be a little conservative but then at the appeal tribunal with an appeal it can get disposed off. My experience has been almost everything then gets cleared."
Trying to play down the controversy, he said there are people in the system whose attitude may be little more conservative. "But then there are internal checks and balances."
"For instance, I look at the big picture and the big picture is a Certification Board, we popularly call it Censor Board and you have the appeal tribunal. Now, whenever you have a problem at the level of the first body, people go to the next slab and almost in 99% of the cases, with or without some changes, it gets cleared by the next body," he said.
Udta Punjab literally means 'Flying Punjab', a reference to the effects of drugs.
-With agency inputs