The Information & Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi had invited several Guild members as part of a high level delegation to discuss matters pertaining to the entertainment industry. This interaction took place on the 29 th of July in Delhi
The meeting entailed a healthy discussion on a broad range of issues governing the Indian filmed entertainment scenario and what ails it. After prolonged deliberations, The Minister promised to take up issues such as exemption of entertainment tax, putting films on the concurrent list, customs duty, countervailing duty, tax waiver for multiplexes etc with the Finance Minister prior to the next Union Budget. It was decided in principle to undertake some more meetings at the remaining metros – Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai for an overall perspective and then to make an all encompassing and consolidated presentation to the Finance Minister.
Eminent members from the Guild such as Bobby Bedi and the Secretary General Supran Sen made meticulous presentations on the omnipresent menace of piracy. There were suggestions for plowing back a certain amount from the entertainment tax proceeds deposited in Government treasury to fight the menace of piracy. Others recommended the setting up of specialised police cells to curb piracy. The Minister promised the gathering that he will meet the Maharashtra Government for chalking out a long term strategy to tackle piracy.
The issue of vagaries in the Censorship Code also cropped up during the meeting. The Censor Board Chairman Sharmila Tagore urged members to approach her directly instead of the top authorities. She made a rather pertinent point when she remarked that it was very difficult to maintain uniformity in censorship as various panels will have members with varied interpretations. Like everything in life that’s open to human interpretations, irregularities will occur here too. There was a strong suggestion from all present for the setting up of strict laws to govern optical disks in its various nuances. Many opined that it was very difficult to obtain U/A certificates for their films. Guild member Prakash Jha gave a rather radical solution when he proposed that censorship should be totally done away with. Shyam Benegal took a somewhat softer route while agreeing in essence with Jha by advocating the Censorship self regulation as a possible remedy.
Shyam Benegal also apprised the minister about the lack of information that is available with the Indian embassies in foreign countries regarding our films from the export angle. We lose out on lots of potential deals because whenever any interested party makes a beeline for our embassy, they are usually disappointed. Some mechanism must be put place so that our embassies are kept abreast with updated information about the Indian films released/screened. We should also try and promote Brand India in global festivals under a common umbrella by institutionalizing it.
Guild members who shared their invaluable thoughts included Shyam Benegal, Basu Chatterji, Bobby Bedi, Sudhir Mishra, Prakash Jha, Arijit Dutta, Ketan Mehta apart from Secretary General Supran Sen. Other personalities included prominent Members of Parliament Shatrughan Sinha and Dharmendra. Guild President Amit Khanna and Vice President Yash Chopra were unable to attend this meeting due to prior commitments.
This interaction between the administration and the Guild is a step in the right direction and concrete results are expected soon.
Issued by The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd.
Established in 1954 by the stalwarts of the Indian film industry, The Film & TV Producers Guild is today the most progressive body in show business. Guild members represent the best in our cinematic heritage but combine it with the dynamism of a new entertainment order. From the studio barons like Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai; to the new diversified media companies like UTV, Nimbus, Zee, Sahara, Adlabs; from the leading TV production houses like STAR TV, SONY, TV TODAY, NDTV, TV EIGHTEEN, BAG Films to the young turks like Ashutosh Gowariker, Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar, Rohan Sippy etc- all are symbols of the Indian filmed content. Offering genuine stakeholders in the business an opportunity to work for the betterment of the entertainment industry, the Guild is now the cornerstone of Indian entertainment. For more information, log on to www.filmtvguild.in
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