Central Board of Film Certification chief Pahlaj Nihalani, who is best known for suggesting cuts in films like Udta Punjab, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Jab Harry Met Sejal, has reacted to rumours that the government plans to remove him from his post. Speaking to news agency IANS, Mr Nihalani said that he hasn't received any official notification so far but is willing to step down from his post if asked to do so. "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," IANS quoted Pahlaj Nihalani as saying.
- "If now I am asked to leave, I'd do so just as swiftly," said Mr Nihalani
- "I leave the decision entirely to the government," said Mr Nihalani
- "I didn't formulate the censor guidelines," said Mr Nihalani
"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," Mr Nihalani added.
Pahlaj Nihalani was appointed as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on January 19, 2015. Speaking about his journey as the CBFC chief, Mr Nihlani told IANS that he has brought 'complete transparency in the process of film certification.'
"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," IANS quoted Mr Nihalani as saying.
"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 added.
Pahlaj Nihalani also spoke about the criticism he has received for his objections to several scenes in movies. He said that he 'didn't formulate censor guidelines' and is only doing his job.
"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," IANS quoted Mr Nihalani as saying.
After objecting to intimate scenes, Mr Nihalani is now all set to scrap the scenes that show actors smoking or drinking as disclaimers aren't enough, reported IANS.
"Merely putting a ticker warning at some remote corner of the screen, whenever there is smoking or drinking shown, is not enough anymore. We feel the superstars who are followed by millions and who set an example in societal behaviour must not be shown drinking or smoking on screen unless the provocation for doing so is really strong," Nihlani told IANS.
"A film where alcohol is essential would have to go with 'A' certificate," he added.
Last month, Pahlaj Nihalani featured in headlines for the Censor Board's objection to the word 'intercourse' in a mini trailer of Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma's Jab Harry Met Sejal. Director Imtiaz Ali recently confirmed that the film has been certified 'U/A' without and audio deletion.
(With IANS inputs)