Pahlaj Nihalani out of Censor board, scissors go to Prasoon Joshi

The moves comes within a month of Smriti Irani taking additional charge of the Ministry, and caps the two-and-half-year tenure of Nihalani, who was embroiled in a series of controversies, and faced charges of cultural policing and endorsing a list of “banned” words in movies.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Mumbai | Published:August 12, 2017 5:55 am
pahlaj nihalani, pahlaj nihalani sacked, pahlaj nihalani cbfc, CBFC, prasoon joshi, Censor board, Since Pahlaj Nihalani took charge on January 19, 2015, controversies over censorship cropped up regularly. (File photo)

In a move that has been described by the film industry as a “welcome change”, the I&B Ministry on Friday appointed adman and lyricist Prasoon Joshi as chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), replacing filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani.

The moves comes within a month of Smriti Irani taking additional charge of the Ministry, and caps the two-and-half-year tenure of Nihalani, who was embroiled in a series of controversies, and faced charges of cultural policing and endorsing a list of “banned” words in movies.

In a statement, the Ministry said “the Central Government is pleased to appoint Prasoon Joshi as Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in an honorary capacity from 11th August, 2017 for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier”.

The CBFC has also appointed 12 new members, including actor Vidya Balan, writer Mihir Bhuta, theatre personality Waman Kendre and director Vivek Agnihotri.

“I look forward to this new and exciting phase where our cinema will be allowed to reflect the sensibilities, realities and complexities of the society we are living in today,” said Balan.

Mukesh Bhatt, film producer and president of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, said, “The appointment of Joshi, a writer par excellence and man who is more evolved as a creative person, as the head of CBFC is a good sign.”

CBFC member Chandraprakash Dwivedi said, “Since Nihalani’s appointment, the members have not been happy. Every guideline was misinterpreted. We had expressed our displeasure over this. Our view was not entertained by the chairman. Freedom of expression was curbed.”

Since Nihalani took charge on January 19, 2015, controversies over censorship cropped up regularly. Vociferous protests following his decision to recommend 89 cuts in ‘Udta Punjab’, besides demanding that the reference to the state be removed. The makers of the film took the matter to Bombay High Court, which cleared it for screening.

Similar protests erupted last month when the CBFC refused to certify Alankrita Shrivastava’s ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, saying it was a “lady-oriented” film which contained “audio pornography”.

Hollywood films that drew Nihalani’s ire included ‘50 Shades of Grey’, which was not cleared for release despite over 90 cuts, the James Bond-film Spectre, which had a kissing scene cut, and more recently Charlize Theron-starrer Atomic Blonde, which had a lesbian lovemaking scene chopped.

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      Nachiket Joshi
      Aug 12, 2017 at 2:26 pm
      BJP bhakts are more worried about words like 'inter course' in Hindi movies than 63 young children that died owing to UP state negligence.
      Reply
      1. A
        A V T
        Aug 12, 2017 at 10:46 am
        Nihlani was doing good job. Now the vulgar film producer to make easy money at boxoffice will show extremely filthy movies. the young generation mind will be corrupted. No wonder India will be rape capital of the world. How can Sunny leone be superstar of bollywood while a hardworking real acting skill girls and women have tough time to act in bollywood movie. Most bollywood people are in industru to make money. They should discard this dhong Hypocracy ) and produce blue films with their daughters and mothers watching side by side.
        Reply
        1. J
          Joe
          Aug 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm
          A V T> Ya right!!!! Bollywood movies are not but don't blame movies for rape, we have a rape culture because most of our country men are brought up repressed and taught to be en led misogynistic hypocrites. God men and moral leaders preach about shunning such influences as films only to get caught later for being rapists.
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            Joe
            Aug 12, 2017 at 9:48 am
            The government has been trying to control what we watch, read and consume for so long that we have become a nation of overpopulated repressed children who cannot deal with anything openly like adults. SO many Indian movies for the whole family to watch are far more vulgar, crass and harmful on an aesthetic, and intellectual level than the things they deem fit to censure.
            Reply
            1. H
              Hindu
              Aug 12, 2017 at 9:22 am
              Soft porno movies promoted by Bollywood is more dangerous to society than the hard pornography available in the net .
              Reply
              1. H
                Hindu
                Aug 12, 2017 at 9:16 am
                Good for Bollywood, now they will be able to show full nudity . With an adman as censor board , the ad industry will corrupt the nation . Hey day for porno stars like VALAN. Great!!! . I guess the govt. should make watching these porno BOLLYWOOD movies compulsory in schools for creating a swatch bharat .
                Reply
                1. N
                  Nastik
                  Aug 12, 2017 at 9:26 am
                  Parsoon is also BJP man but right choice, very intelligent not like that i.d.i.o.t Pahlaj, a slicker.
                  Reply
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