New Delhi: Facing flak for barring Sony TV from telecasting Vidya Balan-starrer 'The Dirty Picture' during daytime, the Information and Broadcasting ministry today said its decision was based on the advice of Censor Board.
"The CBFC, which is an independent statutory body, had held that even the UA certificate given to the movie after several cuts meant that parental guidance was a must. The ministry was simply acting on the advice," a senior I&B official said.
The ministry's notice to Sony on Saturday to not telecast the movie before 11PM had attracted criticism in some quarters which felt that the government was trying to muzzle TV content. The film's director Milan Luthria and actor Tusshar Kapoor came out strongly against the government's decision.
The film was scheduled to be telecast at 12 noon and 8PM on Sunday, for which Sony TV had gone on a big publicity drive.
However, officials said that an April 19 order of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had asked the I&B ministry to ensure that the telecast of 'The Dirty Picture' did not violate guidelines.
Following the court order, the advice of the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) was sought in the matter, officials said.
On April 20, CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur advised the ministry that as per the Programme code of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995, the film should not be shown in the afternoon or evening.
In her letter Thakur said that 'The Dirty Picture' had been rated 'A' (adult only) but was later rated 'UA' (personal guidance) after 59 audio and visual cuts.
Thakur said that 'UA' certificate meant that the film contained visuals and dialogues unsuitable for children watching this film without parental guidance.
"Such programmes should be shown after 11 pm to ensure that they are only seen by young adults (age 14 to 17) or children who have parental guidance available since late at night most parents are available to suitably guide them," Thakur told the ministry.