Pahlaj Nihalani is the former Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. He was a film producer and was also the President of the Association of Pictures and TV Programme Producers for 29 years until he resigned in 2009. He was sacked as CBFC chief on 11 August 2017 and soon Prasoon Joshi was appointed as the CBFC Chief by Smriti Irani.
Pahlaj Nihalani has filed a plea at the Bombay High Court against the censor board for demanding 20 cuts in his upcoming film 'Rangeela Raja'. He can be heard saying that the board has demanded cuts without any guidelines.
"I have been the CBFC chief myself and I have also been a filmmaker and all the 25 films that have released of mine, I have never made a film where I get so many cuts like this time that too which are unjustified. Under my leadership, the other films that have received the court order against the CBFC, and the court earlier had said that CBFC should just give a rating and not the cuts because people can decide which films to watch and which not.''
On being asked about being a former CBFC chief he said, ''I did all my duties with all sincerity unlike the current chief Prasoon Joshi who doesn't go to the office and neither does he do any work.''
The satire of the situation is that Pahlaj Nihalani served as the CBFC chief from 2015-2017. He was appointed to the post in January 2015 and his 2.5-year tenure as the Censor Board chief had been marred with some of the most absurd and controversial censorship diktats, which have been criticized by filmmakers, actors and even the movie-goers on various social media platforms.
He went on to demand baseless cuts from films like 'Badlapur', which was the first film under his regime. He later demanded a band on the Anushka Sharma starrer 'NH 10', but later it was released with nine cuts and an 'A' certificate. Anurag Kashyap was one of the most targeted filmmakers by Pahlaj and even was asked to delete 'Bombay' from the title of his film 'Bombay Velvet' which the filmmaker did not after submitting his film to the revising committee.
Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt starrer 'Udta Punjab' had to struggle a lot before finally winning against the Censor Board. During the initial submission, CBFC ordered 89 cuts to the film, along with the omission of all the reference to Punjab (including the title). The film's cast protested against CBFC's baseless demands. The filmmakers (again Anurag Kashyap and team) took the matter to Bombay High Court, which ordered the film to be passed with an 'A' certificate.
There other films like 'Baar Baar Dekho', 'Lipstick Under My Burkha', and 'Bandookbaaz' among others that had suffered the unsubstantiated demands of the CBFC under Pahlaj Nihalani's rule. Well, looks like Pahlaj is now on the other side of the road and we will have to wait for the final outcome.
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