Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Pahlaj Nihalani on Wednesday defended censorship by asserting that even at home parents and children tend to “censor” what they tell each other.
Defending Indian culture and values, Nihalani said “big stars” are cautious and make “clean films” that do well at the box office. “It is only a small percentage of people on social media who question our role, and if these social media fans were to go watch a movie then all films would be a super hit. That doesn’t happen. Only those films that are rooted in Indian culture and values and can be watched with the family are hits.”
The CBFC chief, who dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “Mahabali” with the strength of a “Bahubali” for his fight against corruption, has proposed certification for content on television and digital media apart from films that hit the big screen.
“We need digital cinema censoring and there is need to monitor what appears on TV,” he mooted, while speaking at a function by the Delhi Study Group to felicitate him.
Nihalani who hit headlines for decisions ranging from muting cuss words to deleting kissing scenes from the movies, blamed the media and a section of producers who “fail to get star casts for their films” for creating controversies about the role of the CBFC.
“There is a strange demand that there should not be censorship… but the content that we are getting is so obscene and vulgar that it is embarrassing for the members of the CBFC to view it. But we have a job to do, so have to ask for cuts,” he said.
He hit out at “social media users” who call him “sanskari” (cultured) and said even developed countries have certification guidelines. “Sanskari has become a gaali (cuss word)…but they (media) don’t know in (the) United Kingdom cuss words are not allowed. There are different versions (of films) sent to CBFC and abroad. The film Fast and Furious had many cuts, the producers said we knew there would be so many cuts, but they wanted to take a chance,” he said.
The CBFC’s decision to demand 13 cuts in Udta Punjab was referred to by Nihalani as an example of the Board being maligned. He said the cuts ordered by the CBFC were upheld by the certifying board in Pakistan. “Worldwide there is censorship... even in Pakistan where there are many violent people, there are good families and there is good censorship… in Udta Punjab they made the same cuts that we had proposed in Mumbai,” he said.
On the allegations that the CBFC has been stalling certification, he said 82 % of the films were certified, while18% went to the revising committee and FCAT and only 1% were not passed so far.
“We have certified films in 82 languages. If you do not observe minutely there can be a law and order problem. Film makers are not even sparing Gods,” he said, making a pointed reference to Aamir Khan’s PK, which ran into trouble for the portrayal of Lord Shiva.