As on 16 Jan 2015, there are 23 members in the Central Board of Film Certification (popularly referred to as the Censor Board). If you covet this position, it is necessary to know the qualifications that take you there. For starters, let us know the qualifications of current board members.
Anees Jung: She was a journalist with Times of India’s Youth Times. She has written many books, but not one related to movies. Being an author can take you to CBFC. I am wondering, if a blogger is qualified too?!
Rajeev Masand: He is a film critic on CNN-IBN and his barometer is always Hollywood movies. He has the luxury of seeing all Indian movies beforehand and has an unfair advantage over his competitors. Well, I almost forgot that competition in a socialist set-up don’t go hand-in-hand.
Shubhra Gupta: Like Rajeev, Shubhra is also a movie critic. She is with The Indian Express.
Mamang Dai: From Arunachal Pradesh, Mamang is also a journalist and author. Well, Congress government did know how to keep journalists and people in media happy!
Pankaj Vohra: If you had not guessed his profession by now, stop reading. He is the Hindustan Times Political Editor. They say that all politicians are actors. So, I see merit in why he is inducted into the Board.J
K C SekharBabu: Ok, ok! He is a Telugu film producer. Based on my research, he produced 8 films, out of which the only film which made waves was “Muthamestri”. Guess who the lead actor in the film was! You may have guessed it – it’s the ex-Congress minister and Telugu star Chiranjeevi.
Santokh Singh Choudhary: His eminent qualification was that he was a Congress MP from Jalandhar. Shame on other Congress MPs!
Raghu Menon: We had so many names and I was beginning to wonder if the influence of “babus” was low in the UPA regime. I was wrong. Menon, an IAS from 1974 batch, was from the I&B ministry.
Nandini Sardesai: Well, being a mother of on your sycophants does help. Yes, she is Rajdeep Sardesai’s mother and Sagarika Ghose’s mom-in-law. After this, I am sure Sagarika is an incompetent journalist. Husband got a Padmashri, mom-in-law got Censor Board membership and she didn’t get anything for her loyalty. Life is not fair!
Nikhil Alva: He is a TV producer and anchor. However, there is another important reason why he is on CBFC. He is the son of ex-Congress minister and Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva. If you aren’t offspring of a Congress member, tough luck!
Ira Bhasker: She is a professor of Cinema studies at…..you guessed it…JNU, Delhi. But, my guess is that clincher was that she authored “Islamicate Cultures of Bombay Cinema”.
Chander Mukhi Sharma: Manish Tiwari being the I&B minister and him not awarding his cronies is beyond belief. Here is a trusted lieutenant, who was a councillor, was a President of the Chandigarh Basketball Association and was a Youth Congress Chief.
Amal Allana: If you are like me, you would have mistaken her for Amal Alamuddin (Clooney). Jokes apart, she is an eminent Theatre personality. But her name does give a hint!
Dipesh Mehta: He is apparently an author. He is such a mystery that even there is no information about him on Wikipedia.
All is not lost. There were some well noted theatre and film personalities on the board. Though I must admit that I am not aware of any of their involvement with the Congress party or its partners. They are: Pankaj Sharma, Arundhati Nag, M K Raina, Shaji Karun, Anjum Rajabali, Haranath Chakraborty, T G Thyagarajan. Surprisingly, absolutely no info was publicly available on the remaining members: Lora K Prabhu and Aseem Kayastha.
Thanks to Prasanna Vishwanathan for planting the idea for this piece.
Sources: Available public information requiring a few Google searches.
The current list of CBFC members is available here.