Censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, in the middle of a raging row for shortening a kissing scene in the new Bond movie Spectre , has landed himself in another tight spot.
Nihalani, in an interview to Times Now news channel on Tuesday night, said he is yet to watch the film, but defended the ‘edits’ ordered by the board, saying they were made “according to the rules”.
“We have given the certificate but I have not watched the movie. I don’t have any role in the examining committee. I am the chairman but it is not my job to watch the movie. I have not watched a single shot of the film, not even the kiss, which has been debated upon,” Nihalani said.
However, when asked why he made films like Andaz, Aag Ka Gola and Ankhein, which had a fair share of kissing scenes, controversial lyrics and suggestive dialogues, Nihalani countered saying he was not the board chief then, and added that like any other filmmaker, he too “enjoyed the freedom of expression”.
“I cut the song in Andaz, the kiss scene in Aag Ka Gola voluntarily as censor did not object at all. As a producer I made the song, but my responsibilities are different as the CBFC chief,” he said.
When grilled further about a vulgar song in Andaaz (1994, starring Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawla), the CBFC chief said, “Why I made the song is a different matter but I voluntarily cut it from the final print. The song was not featured when the movie ran in theatres.”
Watch Anil Kapoor in the song from Andaaz
Nihalani was also asked to explain why he included a “kissing scene” between Sunny Deol and Archana Puran Singh in his film Aag Ka Gola. In his defense, he claimed that he “cut short that kissing scene. It was not even a second. You just see them touching lips.”
“If I was wrong, with age now I have realised with age,” the CBFC chief added.
When asked why he defended the cuts in Spectre if he has not even watched it, Pahlaj said, “My panel has watched it, my office members have watched it. Point out something I have not done within rules, then I have no problem in stepping down. The cuts were made in the past, but there was no controversy then. Now various things are being said,” Nihalani told PTI.
The chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification questioned the ongoing debate on Spectre cuts and said the producer has accepted the cuts and even sent a letter to the board, expressing happiness that it was perhaps for the first time that the film, which was given a U/A rating, was cleared for release with minimum cuts. “In this film, we have not broken its continuity with these cuts. What has been done is according to present rules, we are going by the rules,” he said. He added, “Foreigners have now left the country. Why are you focussing on a James Bond kiss? Why are you desperate to see him kiss onscreen?”
On being blamed for trying to force his morals on the Indian audience, Pahlaj said, “Do you want porn films to be released with U certificate?”
(With PTI inputs )