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Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani calls Lipstick Under My Burkha director ‘a liar’

Lipstick Under My Burkha director Alankrita Shrivastava lashed out at the CBFC chairperson in a recent interview. Nihalani responds by saying that Shrivastava is getting a lot of ‘free publicity’ through this feud.

bollywood Updated: Jul 06, 2017 19:03 IST
Subhash K Jha and Monika Rawal Kukreja
Subhash K Jha and Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Alankrita Shrivastava,Pahlaj Nihalani,Lipstick Under My Burkha
Pahlaj Nihalani says that he never called Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha a ‘lady-oriented’ film.

The feud between Pahlaj Nihalani, chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification, and Alankrita Shrivastava, director of the film Lipstick Under My Burkha, continues. Following a recent interview by Shrivastava, in which she spoke of how she was treated by the CBFC (informally called the Censor Board) when trying to get her film certified, Nihalani says that the filmmaker is carrying on about the film’s rejection just for publicity.

Nihalani says, “These are tactics to draw attention to her film. You tell me, what’s the only point of curiosity about the film? That the [CBFC] Examining Committee rejected her film? She has been cashing in on that for months now.” He adds that the term “lady-oriented”, used to describe the film, didn’t come from him. “It was [in the letter written] by the Examining Committee. I neither viewed nor expressed my opinion over the film.”

Konkona Sen Sharma in a still from Lipstick Under My Burkha.

Shrivastava said in that interview: “The Examining Committee was divided in its opinion, so we approached the Revising Committee. Nihalani, who was present at the screening, made me feel like a criminal.” Nihalani dismisses this, saying, “She is a liar. I was never aloof, rude or uppity with her… I very clearly remember asking her to sit. She didn’t respond. I told her that her film was rejected by the Examining Committee. She said she knew that would happen. It was a civil, to-the-point conversation. How did it make her feel like a criminal? I fail to see why she continues to flog the CBFC and me to get her film noticed, rather than have people talk about it for its intrinsic merit. Does the film have anything else to recommend itself other than the fact that it was questioned by the Censor Board?”

In response to what the CBFC chief has said, Shrivastava tells us, “Let him say whatever he wants, as I have nothing against him. All I’m saying is that the whole idea and procedure of censorship should be thrown out of the window. In a democracy, the certification process can’t be a situation where you [a filmmaker] have to feel like you have to protect your film. It should just be a matter-of-fact procedure. There needs to be a situation where it’s a normal thing and not like you are constantly worried [about] what are they going to do to [the] film.”

Clarifying her stance on Nihalani’s statements that he was courteous to her, Shrivastava adds, “I went to the screening theatre and there was the revising committee, who took the unanimous decision. It’s not about whether they offered me a seat or not; the place is such that there’s no space for [a] dialogue. So I felt that as a filmmaker, I was subjected to an unpleasant atmosphere.”

The fabulous four! #lipstickrebellionbegins #lipstickrebellion #lipstickundermyburkha

A post shared by Ekta Kapoor (@ektaravikapoor) on

#lipstickrebellionbegins #lipstickrebellion #lipstickundermyburkha ❤️💃🏽💋💄🙏🏼

A post shared by Ekta Kapoor (@ektaravikapoor) on

We ask the director about the middle finger campaign that Ekta Kapoor, producer of Lipstick Under My Burkha, has started on social media. The campaign has cinema personalities such as actors Konkona Sen Sharma (who is in Lipstick Under My Burkha) and Ratna Pathak Shah showing their middle finger to the camera, with a lipstick positioned right behind the raised finger.

Shrivastava says, “It’s a lipstick rebellion and it’s totally about defying patriarchy — women are talking about things they don’t have. It’s got nothing to do with the CBFC; the issue is much larger, and it’s a campaign about what women are constantly told not to do in society. It’s a quest to know if women can also have the right to equal terms or are we still secondary citizens.”

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First Published: Jul 06, 2017 19:03 IST