Portrayal of Sikhs, other minorities in films: NCM seeks government response
The Commission is proposing the appointment of minority community members with knowledge of their respective religions and philosophies to the Censor Board to care for relevant sensitivities at the time of film certification The National Commission for Minorities has written to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Central Board of Film Certification for clarification and response on a series of representations from members of the Sikh, Christian, and Muslim communities over the poor portrayal of the respective minorities in films. Sikh religious leaders this month petitioned the Commission over the “funny, disparaging and unfavourable” representation of Sikhs in several films and said the portrayals were not in line with the tenets of Sikh religion or practice. The Commission also received complaints from the Christian community from Tamil Nadu with respect to “negative community portrayal in Tamil film Rudra Tandav”. A complaint from Muslim petitioners objected to negative stereotyping of the community in films. Speaking to The Tribune today, NCM chairperson Iqbal Singh Lalpura said there is currently no provision for the appointment of minority community members to the censor board. “We are proposing that such specific appointments of minority community leaders with the knowledge of the history and philosophy of their respective communities be made to the CBFC to pay adequate attention to sensitivities. We have called I&B Ministry officials for a meeting in December in this respect,” Lalpura said. The NCM discussed the matter on November 10 and called for a detailed report from the CBFC and I&B Ministry about the procedure followed while certifying films and the structure of censor board membership. The Commission has separately written to the Information and Broadcasting Secretary for a response before proceeding further in the matter. Currently, a five-member panel headed by the censor board’s regional director (CBFC has nine regions in India) along with four members drawn from the community certify films. Members are not appointed on the basis of their minority community origins—something the NCM feels is necessary.