PUNE Last week city-based writer, director, composer and producer Shrirang Godbole was appointed as the chairman of Maharashtra Rangbhoomi Parinirikshan Mandal, the state’s nodal body for censorship of theatre.
In the state, the body’s approval is mandatory for every performance that involves a script, whether it is for a commercial play, experimental theatre, “Lokanatya” (folk theatre) or “Sangeet Bari” (tamasha).
Every script needs to be filed with the board, which has an office in Mumbai.
The approval committee has 25 members, and the board certifies performances that are to be staged in the state. Depending on the content of the script, the board gives it a universal, or unrestricted public exhibition (U) or restricted to adult audiences (A) certificate.
Ask Godbole about the ever-pressing question of the censor board restricting the freedom of expression of artists, and he clarifies that it is like the “Rashomon effect”—it completely depends on how you choose to look at it.
“I am a writer and have been on the other side of the fence, too. But I think as the chairman of the board, my stand is going to be encouraging, accommodating and liberal,” he said.
According to Godbole, there are a lot of unfavourable voices, most taking political, regional, religious or moral stands, and challenging the theatrical performances in question as unparliamentary and offensive.
“In these situations, the board’s approval can be assuring and empowering. Artists and writers need to look at the board’s certificate as a protective shield, and not a stumbling block,” he said.
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