'Item songs' to be barred from TV

Item song

The so-called "item songs" in films can no longer be shown on television. The government has decided that all such songs will now be rated as adult content and banned from being shown on television channels.

The Central Board of Film Certification, or the Censor Board, has told the government that instructions in this regard have already been sent to all its regional offices and everyone else involved in certification of films to give 'A' (adult) rating to such songs. "These songs, thus, would not be allowed to be telecast on television as only (a maximum of) 'UA' rated content is allowed on television," said the Censor Board.

The move is part of the efforts to check vulgarity and obscenity in television serials and cinema. Censor Board CEO Pankaja Thakur said it would be wrong to link this order with the Delhi gangrape incident. "In fact, the issue about item songs has been under discussion for quite some time now and we have received numerous representations from the general public and also from the National Commission for Women which recently wrote to us about two specific songs," she told The Indian Express.

"Item songs are essentially adult content. We ourselves do not define what an item song is, but what we mean is that all those songs which are meant for adult consumption, either because of their lyrics or because of visuals, should be given adult certification," she said.

The board has also decided to act tough on songs and scenes in which "any kind of direct or indirect violence is shown against women". It will recommend deletion of such scenes or songs, and will not allow these even in A-rated films.

Thakur said "deletions" are never forced on filmmakers, and are "mutually-agreeable" cuts. "We would like filmmakers to justify the inclusion of songs and scenes depicting physical abuse, rape or any other form of violence against women. I guess filmmakers themselves are more forthcoming and transparent about this than in the past," she said.

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