For all those against the ‘sanskaari’ policies of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani, here’s some good news. According to certain government sources, he could be on his way out.
These sources claim that a meeting has been by called of members of the CBFC. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday July 28 where this crucial decision might be taken. These sources, which are from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, under which the CBFC has to function, also claimed that Pahlaj Nihalani has been given an indication that he might be replaced. His reaction to this piece of news isn’t clear as of now.
The question that arises is that who’ll fill the shoes of Pahlaj Nihalani then. Among the names that are in consideration are filmmaker Prakash Jha and TV producer-actor-filmmaker Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi. Both have them are known to enjoy a comfort level with the ruling government. Director-producer Madhur Bhandarkar, whose film Indu Sarkar is about to release this Friday, is also being considered. Incidentally, all these three filmmakers have had problems with Pahlaj Nihalani with their respective films. In fact, the controversial film Lipstick Under My Burkha, that was dubbed ‘lady oriented’ by the Censors is produced by Prakash Jha. Indu Sarkar too had to battle censorship and reportedly, it has been passed with multiple cuts. Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s film Mohalla Assi, starring Sunny Deol, has also been stuck due to opposition from the CBFC.
Pahlaj Nihalani became the CBFC chairman in the beginning of 2015 and from the very start, he has been grabbing eyeballs by muting/deleting even words like ‘saala’ that aren’t considered as major abusive words anymore. The Anushka Sharma-starrer NH10 had to move ahead by a week thanks to its battle with the Censors. Viewers were later on angry when in November 2015, a kissing scene in James Bond’s Spectre was reduced drastically. He was however criticized the most in June last year when he ordered as many as 89 cuts in Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab, which revolves around drug menace in Punjab. He even asked for the term ‘Punjab’ to be removed from the film. Popular Hollywood films like Fifty Shades Of Grey never released here due to these strict policies. Thanks to the brouhaha over Pahlaj’s way of functioning, the government took notice and appointed Shyam Benegal to make changes in the obsolete rules. The veteran filmmaker has suggested some revolutionary changes, which has got acceptance from one and all. But the government is yet to implement the changes