Not heard from government: Nihalani on rumors around censor board post

Pahlaj Nihalani
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By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai– Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani on Tuesday said he has not heard of any plans by the government to remove him from the post. However, he says he is ready to step down if he is asked to do so.

On Tuesday morning, Nihalani woke up to a barrage of calls and messages anxiously asking him about reports that he will soon be asked to step down from the top post in the film censor body.

Sounding far from rattled by the rumours, Nihalani said: “So far, I have not heard any such plans from the government. I am sure my well-wishers are holding their breath. But they can exhale for now.

“As far as being asked to relinquish my post as the CBFC chairperson is concerned, I leave the decision entirely to the government. It was they who asked me to take over in January 2015. The decision to hire me was a complete surprise to me. I immediately took charge and began working to the best of my abilities.

“If now I am asked to leave, I’d do so just as swiftly, wishing my successor all the best.”

There have been controversies galore over film content during Nihalani’s stint as CBFC chief. Movies like “Udta Punjab”, “Haraamkhor” “Lipstick Under My Burkha” and “Indu Sarkar” are cases in point.

But Nihalani feels a lot of ground has been covered by the CBFC in the two-and-half years of his stewardship.

“We brought in complete transparency in the process of film certification and we eliminated all middlemen and corruption. For this, I must thank my very efficient CBFC team. We all worked towards getting rid of the problems that plagued the workings of the censor board.

“This did not go down well with a lot of people who used to benefit from the earlier system of working in the CBFC.”

He remains unperturbed by the criticism that has come his way for his work methods.

“I repeat… I am only doing my job. I didn’t formulate the censor guidelines. If the guidelines are changed, I’d be most happy to implement those changes. But until then, I will do my job as I am meant to. Please accept the fact that I won’t get swayed by criticism, abuse and taunts. Accept my work method, or wait for the government to get rid of me.”


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