Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has reminded Pahlaj Nihalani, chief of the Central Board of Film Certification, that his job is to certify films not censor them.
- Producers took Nihalani to court after he proposed 89 cuts in Udta Punjab
- The board defended the cuts saying they were justified and legal
- Court will give its order on Monday on the cuts by Censor Board
Mr Nihalani is at the centre of a storm over the 89 cuts he has inflicted on Bollywood film "Udta Punjab", whose producer Anurag Kashyap and his Phantom Films have taken the board to court over it.
"The word censor is not anywhere in the act. Your power is to certify films for public exhibition," the court observed today. It will pronounce its verdict on the plea challenging the cuts on Monday.
Mr Nihalani said he would wait for Monday's verdict before commenting on the court's observations, but added, "My job is to look at the films which aren't passed by the examining committee, pass them to the revising committee. A panel takes a call on films, not one person."
Today, the High Court also told the board Mr Nihalani heads, "You are giving the film ready-made publicity...They don't even need promotional expenses...if you don't want to see it, you have the remote control in your hands."
On the board's arguments on the many expletives used in the film, the court said, "Films don't run only on such language. They will learn from mistakes. Why are you bothered?"
Apart from cuss words, Mr Nihalani has ordered the deletion of "Punjab" and the names of other places in the state, words like election, MLA and Parliament from "Udta Punjab", which deals with drug abuse in Punjab, where elections will be held early next year.
The film's producers agreed in court today to cut one scene but are adamant that no other deletions are tenable.
Mr Nihalani, himself a film producer, has been severely criticised by the film fraternity and has been accused by political parties like the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party of attempting to stall the film at the behest of the BJP, an ally of Punjab's ruling Akali Dal, which they have attacked in their election campaigns over the drug menace.
"The Centre never interferes with the censor board, there was no political influence," Mr Nihalani has said.
"Udta Punjab" is slated for release on June 17.