“Normal civilized people don’t abuse the way we see in films,” new censor chief, Pahlaj Nihalani clamps down on abusive dialogues and violence, revival of workshops for censor members.
The times they are a-changing. For better or for worse, we shall soon know. Pahlaj Nihalani the new chairperson of the Censor Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) is adamant to clean up films, and make censorship a quick clean and unquestionable exercise in moral policing.
Says Pahalji, “I am definitely going to change the way films are censored, so that once a film is given certificate there is no controversy or doubts about its credibility. There will accountability and no room for ambiguity in the censoring process.”
Pahlajji says the guidelines for censoring were not followed properly. “The dos and don’ts were always very clearly laid out for the CBFC members. But they were never properly implemented. Board members were frequently clueless about the guidelines. One can’t blame them. They are supposed to undergo workshops periodically to be updated with the rules of their job. They never had workshops. Out of a 100 jury member only 15 did their jobs properly. They were doing their censoring jobs by groping in the dark. Hence the contradictions and charges of double standards.”
The new censor chief intends to bring in censorship members from every walk of life. “We’ll have professionals from every field…. medicine, law, academics, science….Every section of society and every religious creed would be represented. We’ll also have a maulana on the censor panel.”
Pahlajji intends to implement a uniform code of conduct regarding verbal and visual violence in films.
Lashing out at the trend in a certain kind of cinema of sanctioning a violent society that lives by gaalis and gun the new chairperson of the CBFC says, “There are lakhs and lakhs of jobless youngsters especially in the smaller towns. What are you telling them when you show your hero mouthing expletives and killing people?”
He doesn’t deny the fact that a certain section of people do speak and live a filthy life. “But I don’t think civilized people from any culture use the maa-bahen language in their everyday conversation. Believe me, I know because during election campaigns I’ve travelled to the remotest corners of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Most people, even the poorest of the poor, do not interject their speech with gaalis. Then why does a particular kind of cinema insist on hurling invectives as though they were life-saving drugs?”
Pahlajji also feels strongly about the redundancy of violence in our films. “I know we live in violent times. But that doesn’t mean our cinema has to revel in gore and bloodshed. The violence can always be suggested without bringing it on screen.”
He gives the examples of two of Yash Chopra-Amitabh Bachchan‘s classics to prove how effective insinuated violence can be. ‘Deewaar’ and ‘Trishul’ were extremely violent films. But how much of the theme’s violence was actually shown on screen? To show brutality we don’t have to actually indulge in it.”
Pahlaji is unapologetic about being seen as Narendra Modi’s follower. “When have I denied being an admirer of his politics? But I’d like to think I’ve been chosen to do the job of the CBFC’s chairperson because of my 33 years of experience as a producer. I understand the pain and sweat that goes into making a film. At the same time I also know how much of the violence and abuse that’s claimed as essential can actually be done away with.”