Thursday, December 16, 2010


Draft cinematograph bill of 2010 in a very tacit way brings out an emerging tendency of growing state control on freedom of expressions in the art medium. Regulation of expressions in cinema has been done through censorship in India and this censorship has followed the guidelines of “Cinematograph Act” of 1952.
Before any Indian movie starts we see a certification titled Central Board of Film Certificate. Any film is released to public after it has been certified by the regulatory body giving CBFC certification. Central Board of Film Censorship became Central Board of Film Certificate in 1982 following an amendment in the Cinematograph Act of 1952.
The important question is who governs the CBFC and who controls the medium of expression through art form in India. As of now the industry participation in this board deciding film certification is less and often there is a political lineage that governs dictum, decision making of CBFC.
Political lineage indirectly allows a larger state domination in the board. The logic which is given for a state control is that, film is an important medium of expression and can influence the society. So any content in such a powerful medium should have a social responsibility and must contribute to the welfare of the society. Thus state has an obligation to control the expression form in cinema.
But often a large state participation can reduce and create claustrophobic environment for a creator in this powerful expression of art i.e. cinema. Too much state intervention in the decision making board can act as a hindering factor towards new forms of experimentation in cinema. The question is - what should be the regulatory structure of this board that governs the state of the forms of expressions in Indian cinema.
We need to ask questions on how and on what principles decision making is done in the board. Also what should be the structure of the governance mechanisms of the board so that it balances the needs of the movie maker, state and the Indian society. Many times the interests can be conflictual.
So one needs to determine how the fine balancing thread line could be created which balances all the needs. An independent nature of the governance board is essential to create thriving ground for innovative experimentation in Indian cinema. Institutional structures, their nature of functioning also has a key role to play in determining what kind of new art forms are created. Participation by all actors of the sector in the decision making of the board is key towards achieving it.
Decision making and regulation of art through certification needs to have a clear cut vision and logical basis. For instance the draft Cinematograph Bill 2010 mentions of U,12+,15+. There is a need to debate what are the age limits (and on what basis they are done) one needs to define for certain forms of expressions in a cinema. Such decisions are also influenced by the state of our society and how we all and our younger generation are evolving as human beings over time. It is also influenced by how Indian society is at its roots. At the same time the cinema also gives back its impulses back towards the formation of a particular type of a society.
It is very important to have a regulatory board, institutional structure that takes account of all these finer nuances of the interaction between cinema and society and vice versa in making their decisions. At the same time it should also take care of the agents who play a key role in producing the art form by giving them the breathing space. It is a very sensitive decision making that cannot be left only to the realms of state and certain political lineages. Such decision making has to be supported by Advisory Bodies and Steering Committee guiding the decision making body. The advisory body and steering committee should comprise of sociologist, anthropologist, all experts from film industry thereby bringing a transdisciplinarity in the decision making.
In today’s highly connected digital world, censorship often gets nullified by spread of the censored expressions through other digital medium. The decision making body also has to take account of that. Thus it appears that film censorship and its nature is an intricate subject that needs inputs from various experts. The draft cinematograph bill 2010 has atleast been able to trigger these thoughts in our minds.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


As a student of social science, we in our bachelor days learnt about money supply theory. The lectures, book chapters on macroeconomics dealing with money supply theory use to shout and tell us that money has three basic values – a) Use , b) Precautionary and c) Speculative. In the bachelor days to understand all this we had to compute equations, draw graphs, vacate pages after pages solving series of equations. But as a student I had failed at that point of time to understand what does these con cepts mean in terms of practice. The time, I am referring to was from 1999 – 2002 and may be even beyond 2002. But the realization of how these three values mentioned in money supply intrigues into our daily reading habits, bread and butter arrived only few days back in 2010.
It took 11 long years to realize this. In these 11 years the theory on money supply defining these three values have not changed. Money if we see otherwise is just a printed raw material which generates a value when it helps us to consume certain things (goods, services), or is being stored, saved to act as an insurance for our uncertain discounted future (precautionary value) or is being invested in illiquid assets (bonds, papers, debentures or any other investment assets) to earn more monetary return (which is the value generated from speculation being done with this paper raw material) in future. In our daily life, we all are playing around and using money by tinkering around with these three values and roles of money as a raw material to generate these set of three values.

But these three roles and values are also there in our daily reading which provides us bread, butter, living. We are actually also tinkering around with the three values that are generated from our reading habits.

Lets now get into a little bit detailing of how these three values viz. use, precautionary, speculative are generated from reading.

If we see reading as an exercise that provides us with set of information, then we as readers try to use those information through application in various areas and try to consume our living by earning money from use of information. So use value of reading habits is the money or value of goods, services that are generated, consumed by using the information that comes from our reading habits. Money, goods, service consumption is an outcome of our reading habits and generates an use value.

Precautionary value of reading is the extra reading that we do and keep on searching, exploring all around as a precaution to generate new ideas which brings recognition, money and helps us to consume goods, service and goodwill of reputation. Thus the extra reading that we do as a precaution since we are uncertain of the shelf life of any new idea generates a precautionary value. But the set of information gathered from a precautionary reading might not always be used or be invested.

When a part of this precautionary reading is invested in developing some new thoughts, ideas, applications, knowledge it generates a speculative value. This is because there is an element of speculation in this part of the precautionary reading as a reader. As researchers, we might like to invest in some of the precautionary readings which we think can generate some values for us in future. So in terms of reading habits, precautionary value of reading generates speculative value. So as a portfolio manager if we get series of information from reading habits, we intend to divide and manage those set of information into different compartments that can subsequently raise three types of value for us – viz. Use, Precautionary, Speculative.

There are so many things to explore in money supply theory that can have wide range of applications across sectors where various issues could be seen through the logical lenses of money supply theory.

For me, as a student of social science after reading the subject of economics for 11 years, things are becoming a little clear in terms of the wide range potential of transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary applications of various economic theories that we have read during our bachelor days.

I think we have not yet learnt it as we have many time not practiced unlearning it. May be because of that many areas are still blur and not clear. But the search has just begun after 11 years and I am sure we all together will join together in this searching journey. Till then, I look forward to comments, insights from all friends, wellwishers, colleagues to get more clarity in my thoughts in this journey.