He has surely come a long way from his bhangra days. Meet Fakhr-e-Alam, singer-turned-businessman, and now, the new chairman of censor board, Sindh.
While speaking to members of the press at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday evening, Alam said, “The word ‘censorship’ has a negative connotation in the West. I will throw this word out of our vocabulary — rather it should be called film certification.”
He pointed out the flaws in the Sindh Motion Act 2011, saying, “It is a vague document. It fails to ascertain how one will be penalised if rules are violated.”
He also took notice of the fact that cinemas are not playing the national anthem before featuring a film, which was a common practice in the past. Alam stressed that he would take action against those violating the clause. “Cinema is on the road to revival, and the foundation stones need to be laid in a better manner,” he said.
Alam announced plans to build the Sindh Film Certification and Development Authority, and do away with red-tape in the industry.
He also pledged to take notice of the fact that cable operators are showing films on TV, violating rules set by Pemra. “After all, it is my concern that there are certain films that are being screened,” he said. Alam stressed on one such film, Grand Masti, that has recently been run on TV. He said, “This is a clear-cut violation of the rules, and I make sure to take notice of it.”
Under the authority that Alam plans to set up, he intends to house an enforcement wing which will keep a check on the illegal sale of DVDs and CDs in the market.
As far as setting up the authority is concerned, he said, “I am aiming at a physical structure of this Certification Development Authority, more like Islamabad’s National Film Development Corporation Limited (Nafdec). He also said the current board focuses on shortcuts, and there are loopholes. He was of the view that the gross violation of laws will now be dealt with a severe form of penalty.
As far as censoring is concerned, he said, “We censor parts of a movie, but they are still seen by viewers on the silver screen.”
“I plan on keeping a DVD cut version copy with myself, as I provide the original DVD cut version to the cinema owner, this way I will be sure of what should be viewed and what should not be. This compliance will be fulfilled by cinema owners,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2013.