Tamil actor-producer Vishal has accused the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in Mumbai of demanding and accepting bribes.
In a video posted on X (formerly Twitter), Vishal levelled corruption charges against the CBFC’s regional office in Mumbai, claiming that he and his team were asked to pay a Rs. 6.5 lakh bribe to obtain a last-moment U/A certificate for the Hindi version of his recently-released film, Mark Antony.
Rs. 3 lakh was paid to screen the film and another Rs. 3.5 lakh for the certificate, Vishal disclosed, adding that they were left with no option but to give in to the CBFC’s demands.
He urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take cognizance of the matter and protect other film producers from this ‘scam’.
Film bodies like the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA) and the Indian Film & Television Director’s Association (IFTDA) also wrote to CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi demanding a serious inquiry into the allegations.
The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), in response, said that the government has ‘zero tolerance’ for corruption and promised stringent action against the culprits.
“A senior officer from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has been deputed to Mumbai to conduct an inquiry today itself,” the I&B Ministry wrote in a tweet.
“The issue of corruption in CBFC brought forth by actor @VishalKOfficial is extremely unfortunate. The Government has zero tolerance for corruption and strictest action will be taken against anyone found involved. A senior officer from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has been deputed to Mumbai to conduct an inquiry today itself. We request everyone to cooperate with the Ministry, by providing information about any other instance of harassment by CBFC at email@example.com,” the Ministry added.
Directed by Tamil filmmaker Adhik Ravichandran, Mark Antony is a time-traveling gangster comedy starring Vishal and S. J. Suryah in double roles. The film was released in theatres on September 15 and has proved successful in multiple languages.