Talking about the Udta Punjab controversy, Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani says he was just following guidelines set for censorship.
There are talks that the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) may go to the Supreme Court to contest the high court’s verdict?
As far as we are concerned our job was finished after the film was viewed by the Revising Committee and cuts were advised. It was the producers’ decision to go to court. I am sure they’re happy with the honourable High Court’s verdict.
The honorable high court thinks the CBFC should not act like a grandmother to the censor board?
With due respects to the honourable court I love my grandmother and always wanted to be like her. I can’t speak for the entire CBFC. But I was all along following the guidelines for censorship. If those guidelines are outdated it isn’t my fault. By calling me names and by questioning my sexuality , you are not going to change the rules.
Who is questioning your sexuality?
An anchor on a TV news channel.I believe he was heard wondering about my sexual preferences just because he felt I was strict with Aligarh. But I am not here to judge people or insult them.
In the last two weeks the criticism against you reached a crescendo, thanks to Udta Punjab?
They’ve got their clearance from the honourable High Court and we completely respect the court’s decision. But contrary to the lynch-Pahlaj campaign I was never against Udta Punjab or any other film. Do you know, during my tenure as chairperson of the CBFC so far 72% films have been passed without a single cut?
What went wrong with Udta Punjab?
Nothing went ‘wrong’. We were following the guidelines given to us . That is exactly what we’ve been doing all along. It is unfortunate that though the Censor Board is now called the Censor Board Of Film Certification the guidelines remain the same as before.This is the rootcause of all the problems that have cropped up between the CBFC and the film industry.We are following outdated guidelines. Now after the honourable Bombay High Court’s verdict on Udta Punjab the CBFC guidelines need immediate revision.If we continue to follow the existing guidelines the CBFC will now be reduced to a state of mockery and redundancy.
Why do you say that?
Now with the honourable high court having upturned most of the CBFC’s cuts in Udta Punjab filmmakers can go to the courts to get the cuts restored.
Are you saying that the Bombay High Court’s decision on Udta Punjab has forever changed the equation between the CBFC and the film industry?
Yes. The guidelines must now be revised, maybe as per the recommendation of the committee set up by Shyam Benegal. But the changes have to be implemented immediately.
Many in the film industry are asking for you to step down?
I am not answerable to the film industry.If the government asks me to step down I’ll do so most happily. I’ve been doing my job honestly and sincerely.No producer can claim his film was delayed because of the CBFC.At times we’ve certified films in as little time as 24 hours so that the producer doesn’t suffer for submitting his film late for certification. There is zero corruption in the CBFC and we are working towards online certification of films.I am happy with my performance in the CBFC. For those who are unhappy with what I’ve done I’ve no apology to offer. Don’t target me for doing my job.
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