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Censor Board can’t dictate 11pm slot: Tribunal

After The Dirty Picture's TV broadcast debacle, Appellate Tribunal grants Mahesh Bhatt right to telecast Jannat 2 at time decided by broadcasters. After The Dirty Picture was relegated to the adult slot on television despite cuts, Jannat 2 met a similar fate. However, producers Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt moved the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) to appeal the decision by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Now, the Tribunal has declared that the CBFC cannot decide the slotting of films to be aired on national television.

Mahesh Bhatt says they had removed the objectionable content from their film for its TV telecast, but the CBFC maintained that the film wasn't fit for prime-time public consumption. CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur confirmed the development."We were told that we would be given a U/A certificate for TV viewing only if we signed an undertaking that we would ensure the broadcasters of Jannat 2 showed it post 11pm. We refused," Mahesh Bhatt said. Then there is also the question of hitting revenue earnings. The Dirty Picture and Jannat 2 were reportedlysold to broadcasters for nearly 10-12 crore each.

"If broadcasters stop getting sufficient returns, why'll they pay big money for satellite rights?" points out an insider. Mahesh adds, "After the precedent set by The Dirty Picture, there were growing fears that films with U/A certificates can be pushed to late night slots. That is exactly what was being done to my film." A source explained the CBFC's stand, saying, "There are some films which even after cuts and certification, retain their adult theme. These movies are not advisable for children. So yes, especially after The Dirty Picture, the CBFC was trying to slot the adult films at a time when at least some children would be asleep, if not all. But now, after the Tribunal judgement, the CBFC has no power to decide time slots."

Meanwhile, in another development, the Bombay High Court has directed that any broadcaster wanting to release a film on satellite will have to deposit 10 lakh as surety in view of pending copyright infringement cases, while hearing a petition filed by writer Kapil Chopra who has sued the Bhatts for copyright infringement.On Tuesday, the court declared that unless the Bhatts resolve their issue with Sharma, their film cannot be shown on TV. "We have deposited 10 lakh with the court. Kapil is bluffing. The next hearing is on September 4. If we want to release Jannat 2 on TV before the verdict is announced, we shall settle the matter with Kapil," Mahesh said.


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