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Will Smriti Irani, now I&B Minister, address censorship in cinema?

Will Smriti Irani, the new Information and Broadcasting Minister, act on Shyam Benegal’s report to rejig the Censor Board? 

Smriti Irani

Smriti Irani-Pahlaj Nihalani/Courtesy: Indian Express, Firstpost

There’s absolutely no doubt that the Indian government is nothing short of a mute spectator of the ongoing havoc created by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), known as the Censor Board, in Bollywood. The Board’s controversial chief Pahlaj Nihalani has poked his nose in every possible film and has been misusing his role of ‘certification’ as a tool to govern cinema, thereby the choices served to the Indian audiences. With Smriti Irani, a prominent minister in the ruling government, taking over the additional charge of the Information and Broadcast Ministry, there is a revival of discourse on the rejig of the Censor Board.

Before she emerged as a significant leader in the Narendra Modi-led government, Smriti Irani was a popular television actor who perhaps understood cinematic sensibilities at its best. She also worked as a model and featured in music videos before becoming the ultimate ‘Tusli’ of the Indian TV. But will she come out in support of the grieving film industry that gave her all name, fame and recognition?

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Insiders say that Irani is expected to take some bold measures in the otherwise dead portfolio in the government. She is also expected to react to the report submitted long ago by the Shyam Benegal committee, suggesting rejuvenation of censorship in cinema.

We all know Irani is a dynamic personality, who has reinvented the textile industry with her new-age campaigns. What used to be a neglected domain has suddenly caught the eye of youngsters, thanks to Irani’s aggressive online campaigns on Indian handlooms. Even as HRD Minister earlier, she was constantly in news for taking controversial steps in the education sector. Going by her past record, there are chances of overhaul of the Censor Board as well. However, there’s just one concern: Irani, who used to be very bold initially in her career, has now become yet another face of sanskari brigade, which is generally averse to unconventional, progressive ideas. Hope this turns out to be a rumour!

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