Ever since he became the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in India (CBFC) Pahlaj Nihalani had been receiving slack for censoring films on random and frivolous grounds—right from profanity, homosexuality to duration of kisses, Thus, in what may have come across a huge relief for the entire film fraternity, Nihalani was asked to step down as the CBFC chief. Writer, Poet and lyricist, Prasoon Joshi has reportedly been appointed in place of him.
Nihalani, who was appointed on January 19, 2015 as the CBFC chief was to complete his term in January, 2018. But, just five months ahead of the date, he was asked to step down from the post. Now, for the first time since he was ousted, Nihalani gave a statement to Midday. He said, “I was not shocked at all. I’m happy and relieved. I have done this job to the best of my capacity. I wish all the best to the film industry, and to people who were against me,” he said. He further said that he respects the government’s decision and that he is contented with his stint as the CBFC chairperson. “I’ve always performed my duty with honesty, sincerity. I have no regrets,” he said. (ALSO READ: Twitterati Rejoices As Prasoon Joshi Replaces Pahlaj Nihalani As The New CBFC Chief)
Nihalani had been reportedly trying to make changes to the current guidelines of the Censor Board, which are outdated. He said that he had tried to do that and sent all suggestions to the government a few days ago. “I recommended new CBFC guidelines, and ratings system, even before the Shyam Benegal Committee did. I am a film industry man, so I know its requirements,” he explained.
Meanwhile, there’s a buzz doing the rounds that Nihalani will be inducted into the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. However, he maintains that he has no knowledge of this probable development.
In the time, that Nihalani headed the Censor Board, he turned it into a precinct of continuous controversies. Whether it was about making it difficult for Lipstick Under My Burkha to release, issuing 48 cuts to Babumoshai Bandookbaaz or 14 cuts for Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar –the CBFC Chief had come under scrutiny several times for his out-dated thinking and imposition of strange restrictions.
The new committee will now be headed by Prasoon Joshi and will reportedly have other members such as Vidya Balan, Gautami Tadimalla, Narendra Kohli, Naresh Chandra, Neil Herbert, Vivek Agnihotri, TS Nagabharana, Ramesh Patange, Vani Tripathi, Jeevitha Rajasekhar and Mihir Bhuta.
Written by Ishani Bose