Censor Board karma has caught up with ‘Sanskari’ Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai: Former Censor Board chief’s karma has come to bite ‘sanskari’ Pahlaj Nihalani. Nihlani, in his tenure from 2015-2017, was known to have harassed numerous film producers with his sanskari ‘cuts.’ Now, on the other side of the fence, he claims he is a victim of the malafide intentions of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government and its machinery like the Central Board Film Certification (CBFC).

Nihalani has moved the Bombay High Court, challenging the 20 cuts suggested by Prasoon Joshi, the new CBFC chief, in his upcoming film – Rangeela Raja – starring Govinda. The board has asked him to drop several ‘double meaning’ dialogues from his film. Nihalani, however, has maintained there is no such vulgar language used in his entire film.

“Only because I am the former chairman of CBFC and was very strict during my tenure, I am being harassed. Presently, the government in the centre is led by the BJP which has only one aim, to construct the Ram temple at Ayodhya,” Nihalani has claimed in his petition.

Nilhani’s has alleged he is being targeted. “I have used the name of Lord Ram in my film and the same has been used in a very correct manner; however, only because of forthcoming elections, the CBFC, whose current chairman is a political appointee, has raised the issues. The entire machinery of the board is acting with malafide intentions,” Nihalani’s plea reads. In his plea through advocate Ashok Saraogi, he has surprisingly relied upon the case of ‘Udta Punjab’ which was cleared by the HC in  its detailed judgment and had  passed strictures against Nihalani, who had suggested numerous cuts in the film.

“A trend has been adopted by the CBFC to suggest unwanted cuts in the film produced by any producer. I state, the said aspect has been considered by this High Court in the case of the film titled ‘Udta Punjab’. This HC has appreciated the fact that unwanted cuts were being given in the said film,” Nihalani has stated.

The plea also mentions the CBFC chief has no legal power to suggest any cut in any film as it is only a ‘certification authority.’  “During my tenure as the CBFC chief, I have brought substantial changes in the rules and regulations of the film certification which have been appreciated by the public at large. The constant harassment of producers by the board and its staff had stopped during my tenure,” Nihalani has claimed. The petition then goes on to accuse present CBFC chief, Prasoon Joshi, of acting at the behest of his political masters as his is a political appointment and he has no ‘experience’ to hold the post.

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