On June 22, Republic TV broke a story entailing a sting on Pahlaj Nihalani, the Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), colloquially known as the Censor board.
The sting, which involved a long conversation between Republic TV's Sagarika Mitra and Pahlaj Nihalani, revealed the latter's views on a number of recent films that the CBFC has taken issue with.
One of the topics that Nihalani broached upon was Anushka Sharma talking about 'intercourse' in the trailer for her upcoming film Jab Harry Met Sejal, in which she stars opposite Shah Rukh Khan. On account of the mention of 'intercourse', the CBFC had decided against clearing the trailer, something Nihalani justified by describing 'intercourse' as 'sharp language'.
Perhaps the most revealing insight from the sting was the Censor board chief's opinion on sanitary pads and menstruation. Speaking about the poster for Phullu, which features sanitary pads prominently, Nihalani said that menstruation and pads were not a 'universal subject'. He then alluded to 'boys' (men) not needing to know about them.
On being probed further, he mentioned how 'girls are more bold and free than men', and don't feel 'shame' about menstruation and sanitary pads, whereas men do. He also questioned why women hide 'these things' (sanitary pads) while purchasing them. He admitted that he had not seen the film, only the cuts.
Nihalani's views on the distinction between men and women also surfaced while talking about the film, Lipstick Under My Burkha, to which the CBFC had refused to award a certificate, only to be overruled by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.
With the film now set to release on July 21, Nihalani maintained his stance, offering that the film shouldn't be released because it was "very filthy". The Censor board's earlier reasoning for objecting was the film being 'lady oriented' and depicting 'fantasy women'.
Speaking about the tribunal passing Lipstick Under My Burkha, Nihalani launched a scathing attack at its producer Prakash Jha, whom he grouped as a 'litigant producer'. He alleged that the Jha had used his influence to get relief.
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