On Friday, the government replaced the Central Board Of Film Certification chief Pahlaj Nihalani with award winning lyricist, Prasoon Joshi. Prasoon Joshi was appointed with immediate effect for the next three years or until further orders, as was announced by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in a press release. All this done, Nihalani says he was actually preparing for an exit for months now.
“Actually, from the time I came in, there have been elements working against me, some of them from within the CBFC. These elements — I am not going to name them on-record — are currently celebrating premature Diwali,” Nihalani tells Quint. Understandably so, as Nihalani had become the center of controversies if you have even mildly adult/ inappropriate material in your film. Ask Madhur Bhandarkar when he came to certify Indu Sarkar. Or Alankrita Shrivsatava of Lipstick Under My Burkha. The words “cow” and “Hindu India” were also censored from a documentary which was made on Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.
But it is nothing that Nihalani regrets. “None at all. Believe me, I was brought in as the CBFC chairperson all a sudden. I happily took up the job that the government thought me fit for. Now when the government has asked me to step down, I do so without any regret. It was a big challenge while it lasted. When I came in there was rampant corruption in the CBFC. I got rid of all the middlemen and touts who made money in the censor certification process. They too must be celebrating Diwali in advance this year.”
Nihalani hopes to return to film production soon again.