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Censorship decoded2 min read

August 20, 2015 2 min read

Censorship decoded2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Manipal: Ramchandra P.N., an award winning film-maker, delivered a talk on “cinema and censorship” at the School of Communication (SOC) auditorium on Tuesday, August 18, 2015.

Ramchandra P.N. who is credited for works like ‘Suddha’ and ‘Putaani Party’ educated a packed hall of enthusiastic media students on issues related to media censorship prevalent in the country. In the ensuing lecture, Ramchandra questioned the grounds on which censorship was enforced in India by exploring the ideas of liberty, offence and objection. He expressed doubt over the reasonability of the constitutional restrictions on freedom of speech in India.

Quoting modern British philosopher John Stuart Mill, Ramchandra said “The only purpose for which power can be rightly exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”  He reinforced this ‘harm principle’ by referring to the Kautilya’s ‘Arthashashtra’ and its provision of the “right to offend” to the entertainers of the time. He resumed by referring to examples of censorship in the Indian media like the ‘Kissa Kursi Ka’ case , ‘Vishwaroopam’ case, ‘Fanaa’ case where the censor board had laid restrictions on exhibition of the films due to display of objectionable content and viewpoints and then questioned whether any of these films had in anyway breached the harm principle.

He maintained his stance on the right to offend while taking questions from the students. He said that a person always has the right to offend back when offended and that alone can safeguard the freedom of speech.

On being questioned by a student on whether censorship has honed the skills of Indian film-making,  he replied that those type of skills can also exist without censorship.

Professor Sunil Bhadri, faculty at SOC, appreciated Ramchandra’s for the neat structuring of the lecture and the facts presented throughout. He also referred to the case of U.R.Ananthamurthy with respect to the harassment faced by the latter for his views against the political leadership.

Mrs. Nandini Lakshmikantha, Director of School of Communication was also present in the audience.

Ramchandra’s films Lohit Diary (2015) and Haal-e-Kangaal (2015) were also screened at Dr.Gangubai Hangal auditorium. He interacted with the audience during both the screenings.

Edited by Sakhi Todi