Pahlaj Nihalani sacked as CBFC Chief, Prasoon Joshi replaces him
Pahlaj Nihalani has been sacked from his post as the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification. Filmmaker Prasoon Joshi would reportedly replace him. In his two-and-a-half-years as Censor Board chief, he managed to annoy the who's who in India, including Madhur Bhandarkar and Anurag Kashyap and even the PM!
Nihalani took over as CBFC chief in January'15. An initial guideline he issued was a list of cusswords that were not to be used, even in A-certified movies. Then there was a series of controversies related to him demanding cuts in the most frivolous of scenes. On the day rumors about his removal abounded, he said "superstars" won't be allowed to drink/smoke on screen.
During his tenure, Nihalani has refused certification to movies due to kissing scenes (James Bond movie 'Spectre' and others), for being "lady-oriented" ('Lipstick Under My Burkha'), or for referencing real-life issues ('Udta Punjab'). Words like 'lesbian' ('Dum Laga Ke Haisha') and 'intercourse' ('When Harry Met Sejal') weren't allowed under Nihalani's tenure. "50 Shades of Grey" wasn't cleared despite over 70 cuts.
It would still have been understandable if he was at least consistent in his "sanskaari" outlook, but on one hand, he censored bra visuals ('Baar Baar Dekho'), and on the other, cleared sex comedies like 'Mastizaade' and 'Kya Kool Hai Hum'.
The latest controversy surrounding the CBFC chief was when he sent a legal notice to organizers of the IIFA Awards 2017 for "defamatory statements" in which he was "vilified as a 'watchman'". It observes similar jokes were made last year too. "I know when to laugh and when to make others cry," Nihalani said about the issue.
His censoring style came as a surprise considering his own movies were known for double entendres and cringe-worthy songs. Here's a sample: 'Khada hai khada hai' that Anil Kapoor sings for his newly-wedded wife; 'Le lo, le lo mera'; and another that went 'Roz karenge hum karenge ku ku ku ku', all from 'Andaz' (1994). Pelvic thrusts and chest-thrust-out dance moves were the norm.