New Delhi, Aug 11: Filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani was sacked from the post of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Chairman on Friday. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has replaced Nihalani with lyricist Prasoon Joshi.

The move came days after reports said the I&B Ministry is mulling the option of replacing him with film director Prakash Jha or TV producer-actor Chandraprakash Dwivedi. According to TOI, Nihalani was alerted by the Ministry in the July 28 CBFC meeting that he might be replaced.

Nihalani was appointed as the censor board chief on January 19, 2015. His tenure drew flak from various cinema quarters, for his alleged conservative approach while certifying upcoming releases.

Indian Film and Television Directors Association (IFTDA) had recently lodged their protest against Nihalani, for the cuts suggested by CBFC in Kushan Nandy’s Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. The filmmaker was ordered by Nihalani to remove a slew of scenes from the movie featuring violence and curse words.

The film’s makers claimed the CBFC gave its justification of 48 cuts by saying that even children watch an ‘A’ film.

Nihalani, however, struck back at his detractors, accusing them of conspiring against him.

“Look at the timing of their so-called revolt against the CBFC. Kushan Nandy (director) and his producer (Kiran Shroff) had come to us for a certificate in the first week of July. We had given them an ‘A’ certificate with many cuts which included graphic scenes of lovemaking and explicit references to inflamed body parts,” Nihalani was reported as saying by IANS.

“They had the choice of either going to the Revising Committee or the Tribunal (Film Certification Appellate Tribunal). They chose to go straight to the Tribunal. Now when the Tribunal is viewing their film this week, they suddenly decide to create a stir around their film. And what better target than the CFBC? Where were they for month? What happened to suddenly awaken their dormant liberal impulses?”

Official announcement of Prasoon Joshi’s appointment:

The I&B Ministry said: “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 (37 of 1952) read with rule 3 of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983, the Central Government is pleased to appoint Sh. Prasoon Joshi as Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in an honorary capacity from 11th August, 2017 for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. ”

Prasoon Joshi, along with Piyush Pandey, was part of Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial campaign in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Joshi is credited for the song acche din aanewale hai which was used by the BJP in its commercial campaigns.

With inputs from IANS