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Pahlaj Nihalani removed as CBFC chief, Prasoon Joshi to replace him

‪Central Board of Film Certification chief Pahlaj Nihalani has been removed from his position, and will be replaced by lyricist and screenwriter, Prasoon Joshi.

bollywood Updated: Aug 12, 2017 09:50 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times
Pahlaj Nihalani,Prasoon Joshi,CBFC
Pahlaj Nihalani’s tenure has been marred by controversy.

The information and broadcasting ministry on Friday announced the removal of Pahlaj Nihalani as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), replacing him with noted adman and lyricist Prasoon Joshi.

Nihalani whose term was to end in January next year courted controversies after assuming office for trying to censor films and refuse certification. Speculation of his preterm removal gained traction after he stalled Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar, a film based on Emergency.

Announcing the appointment of Joshi as chairperson of the certification board for three years or till further orders, the Ministry did not specify any reasons for the removing Nihalani.

Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu, offered congratulations to Joshi for his appointment.

Nihalani, who earned the epithet of “Sanskari Nihalani”(cultured) was slammed for compelling film makers to edit, mute and shorten dialogues and scenes which he found unfit for universal viewing.

He hit the headlines again a few weeks ago when he refused adult certification to Babumoshai Bandookbaz unless the makers agreed to 48 cuts; sought 12 cuts in Indu Sarkar, and asked the makers of The Argumentative Indian, a documentary on Nobel laureate Amartya Sen for dropping the use of words such as “cow”, “Hindutva” and “Gujarat”.

Nihalani’s frequent locked horns with film makers who accused him of impinging on their creative freedom was the motivation for the I&B ministry to form a panel headed by acclaimed film maker Shyam Benegal to suggest a revamp of the certification board.

The suggestion of the Benegal Committee are being incorporated into the revised Cinematography A ct, which will see the powers of the CBFC diluted to give film makers more leeway by granting more categories for films with adult content.

Nihalani who was appointed to the CBFC worked with the BJP ahead of the 2014 general elections and is credited with the making of music videos ‘Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi’ and ‘Mera Desh Hai Mahaan’.

His successor, Joshi too has worked with the BJP, helping them with the election campaign in 2009 and again in 2014, where as part of advertising agency McCann, he wrote the BJP anthem.

While Nihalani could not be reached for comment, in an earlier interview to HT, he blamed film makers for garnering publicity for their films by dragging CBFC into controversies. He dismissed filmmakers accusing him of wielding the scissors and curbing their freedom of expression as “attention seekers” and “habitual complainers”.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

First Published: Aug 11, 2017 19:36 IST