“The Film Industry Should See The Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) As A Friend, Not As A Hostile Force.” – Pahlaj Nihalani
Pahlaj Nihalani, the reputed filmmaker, needs no special introduction as far as his filmmaking repertoire is concerned. But of late he has come in for a lot of flak since the time he has been appointed as the chairperson of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC). On this account Pahlaj Nihalani averred in clarification, “Maybe some people don’t like that I have restored transparency in the censor board. I can’t comment on what someone in the censor board thinks to be right or wrong. All I can tell very categorically is that I have been working within the Information & Broadcasting Ministry & Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) guidelines.” Even otherwise 2 members of the Censor Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) Ashoke Pandit & Dr. Chandraprakash Diwedi have leveled serious charges of autocratic functioning against Pahlaj Nihalani. Both of them have expressed their dissatisfaction by categorically stating that the Government is not pleased with the cuss – word ban by Censor Board, can take action. Here in this free wheeling interactive session Pahlaj Nihalani clarifies his stance.
One of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) board member Ashoke Pandit has leveled some very serious charges against you. Do you think it was right on the part of Ashoke Pandit to go public with his grievances?
Frankly speaking I can’t comment on what someone in the censor board thinks what is right or what is wrong. All I can tell you very categorically is that I have been working within the Information & Broadcasting Ministry & Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) guidelines. Maybe so far the censor board has been functioning in a different way. And now some people don’t like the fact that I have restored discipline & transparency in the workings of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) and its circular banning cuss words put on hold.
The protesters in the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) say that your style of working is tyrannical?
But It is my duty to do my job to the best of my abilities. As long as I am the chairperson of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) I won’t compromise on my work and I won’t buckle under pressure just because some people are uncomfortable with my style & way of working.
Do you think it was right of Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) board members to go public with their grievances?
I don’t want to comment on any individual. But if anyone chooses to go public with the grievances against a Governmental organization, then he or she is working against the interests of the Government. It’s therefore ethically & legally wrong of them.
Has the Information & Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore been informed about the revolt within the censor board?
If I answer that I would be doing exactly what these other board members are doing. Let me just say that the Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore is a very smart & an intelligent person. He knows exactly what people are doing and those who are going against the guidelines are definitely brought to his notice. For instance Central Board Of Film Certification’s – CBFC rifts (spilt) in the open.
Ashoke Pandit also claims that you see every film on your own and decide what is to be done?
Firstly, as the chairperson I have a right to either watch films personally as and how I want, or depute someone from the censor board to watch it. If so far, my predecessors have not been watching films personally, they were in the wrong. If I am doing the right thing now, if I am clearing as many as 5 films in 1 day, why are some members of the censor board getting jittery?
Your working method has diminished the chances of corrupt practices?
For the 1st time in the existence of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC), I scheduled 5 films to be watched by the Revising Committee on the same day. Never before has the censor board watched more than 1 film on any given day. Is that not a good thing? We went out of the way of our schedule by censoring ‘NH10’ as we didn’t want to delay their 13th Mar, 2015 release.
Both disgruntled board members Ashoke Pandit & Dr. Chandraprakash Diwedi have accused you of being unfair to NH10?
Unfair? After seeing the film audiences are laughing at such accusations. We have gone out of our way to retain the violent flavor of the film. We have censored the film according to the script’s demand. That’s how every film will be censored. We only changed the dialogues a bit. I am a producer & a director myself. I know what cuts can be made without affecting the narrative. I wonder how Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) board members commented on the picture without seeing it.
Even the film’s producers including Anushka Sharma have been voicing protests against the CBFC?
After the film was censored the producers & the directors said they were satisfied with the cuts. They had appealed to us not to cut certain scenes. All of us 9 members conceded to their appeal for the sake of their creativity. We will deal with every film on an individual basis. ‘NH10’ needed the violence. The social message is quite clear and very strong here. The producers were happy. I don’t know if some of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) board members are unhappy.
Are you saying that Ashoke Pandit & Dr. Chandraprakash Diwedi have commented on your censoring of ‘NH10’ without seeing the film?
If they had seen the film they wouldn’t have said what they had to. I don’t know what they are talking about. From the day I have taken over as chairperson of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) they have ganged up against me. Without the permission from the Information & Broadcasting ministry they have been publicly commenting on the internal workings of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC).
What would you say in your defense?
I don’t have to defend myself against such absurd charges. From the day I took over as the chairperson of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) I have respected the opinion of each & every member of my censor board. I value their opinion. They have toiled hard to clear the backlog of films to be censored. We have cleared all applications for censorship till 4th Mar, 2014. Even the promotional clippings will now be cleared within 24 hours. The film industry should see the CBFC as a friend, not as a hostile force.
How do you plan to deal with the revolt?
By doing my duty and working honestly. I am not bothered with the naysayers. My work will speak for itself. As for the protesters, they are violating the rules of the Information & Broadcasting ministry by working against the interest of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC). The Ministry will decide what to do with them.