Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s comments on filmmakers Hansal Mehta, Anurag Kashyap and actor Manoj Bajpayee haven’t gone down well with them.
In an interview, Nihalani said that he feels Bajpayee’s career had still not taken off and filmmakers like Mehta and Kashyap’s films open and close to empty theatres. Nihalani’s reaction came after Bajpayee called him ‘spent force’ in an interview. Bajpayee says he was misquoted and Nihalani should have checked with him before reacting.
“I am very proud of the filmography that I have created and I have justified each and every moment of myself in this industry without stooping to any kind of cheap entertainment. He (Nihalani) should not call journalists to take out his venom against some chosen people, without confirming it with the concerned person,” says Bajpayee.
“The word which he has reacted to has not been said by me. I was misquoted. I don’t talk in this language about a senior citizen. Besides, if I feel that CBFC’s attitude towards any film is not right, I will definitely voice my opinion.”
And Bajpayee is in no mood to clarify things with Nihalani, “Why should I clarify? He should have called up and confirmed it with me. He has had a cordial relationship with me for years. He has had high regard for me, has called me an example in this industry, and now suddenly, I am something else for him,” he adds.
Mehta, on the other hand, questions Nihalani’s position in the censor board. “He is always disparaging. For him, artistic work is box office collection. Somebody who equates an artist’s work to money, is he fit to be the chief of the certification board? Should he be there? He can say whatever he wants. It is a free country. I, too, constantly vent my feelings. It is not about me. What has upset me the most is what he said about Manoj . Artists like Manoj Bajpayee are national treasure. Every generation produces great actors and by reducing to this level, Mr Nahalani is only displaying his own intellect,” says Mehta, who worked with Bajpayee in the critically acclaimed film, Aligarh (2015).
Nihalani and the certification board have had their run ins with the film industry over the unwanted cuts in films such as Tamasha, Aligarh and Udta Punjab. Mehta — a National Award-winning filmmaker — is upset that the government does not intervene in any matter.
“One will continue making films the way they do, I will continue making films the way I do. There have been other CBFC chiefs who have been equally disparaging, this not a new thing. This war will always be on. Unfortunately, the government does not do anything about it,” he says.