Stop moral policing on cinema: Nagarjuna (Interview) (With Image)

Chennai, May 6 (IANS) As Indian cinema completed a century, Telugu actor Akkineni Nagarjuna said that all types of moral policing on cinema by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) should be stopped. He said cinema can’t be held accountable for what is happening in society.

“It’s good to have a governing body to oversee matters in making of films, but you can’t blame films for what is happening in society. This type of moral policing on films should stop right away,” Nagarjuna told IANS, when asked about one thing he would like to change about the 100-year-old industry.

After the Dec 13, 2012, Delhi gang-rape case, many — including CBFC — have been blaming cinema for the adverse effect on viewers. Also, ethics of actors, who are seen smoking on screen, are being questioned for having a bad influence on the younger generation, which blindly idolises stars.

“It doesn’t make sense to blame cinema for every rape and robbery in the country because one should understand that it’s a medium of entertainment. If there is one change I would like to see happen as we complete a hundred years of Indian cinema, then it has to be this,” he said.

Nag, as he is fondly known, also feels that a ban on smoking on screen is unfair.

“I don’t see what effect a statutory warning on screen during a smoking or drinking scene will have on the audience. I believe we are only reminding them from time to time that the characters are smoking and drinking, which will only lead to an adverse effect,” said Nag, who has acted in films like “Ninne Pelladatha” and “Annamayya”.

“People know excessive consumption of anything is bad for health. By imposing a ban on something, we are in a way provoking them to do it,” he added.

The 53-year-old owner of Annapurna Studios feels it is time to revise the ticket pricing system so that filmmakers can profit.

Nag said: “There should be a flexibility on ticket prices in multiplexes. It’s sad that we pay Rs.120-150 for a ticket in a multiplex in Andhra Pradesh. In a multiplex, a bucket of popcorn costs Rs.120, an aerated drink is for Rs.100 and even parking is charged on a per hour basis.”

“The first one week to 10 days’ collection is very crucial for every film. If tickets are so low priced and go further down during weekdays, how can producers and distributors make money?

“In other countries, tickets are priced high during the first and the second week to help films break even and earn more if the film is good. The first week is also very crucial because pirated CDs are out by the end of first week. The government can’t stop piracy, so they may as well allow us to have high ticket prices,” Nag said.

(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at [email protected])

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