Is It All Over For ' Sanskari ' Pahlaj Nihalani? Bollywood Reacts

They aren't saying it in so many words, but the film industry doesn't want him to continue in office at all. Read on...

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Is It All Over For ' Sanskari ' Pahlaj Nihalani? Bollywood Reacts
Tongues are now wagging louder than they were in the morning that the I & B Ministry has decided to oust Censor Board Chief Pahlaj Nihalani for the embarrassment that his Modi video has caused the government. Those who matter in the ruling party are, if not anything else, reconsidering his tenure.

Pahlaj has been mired in controversies ever since his appointment in January this year. His harsh ways of cutting films has hit and hurt the film industry no end. And things got worse when, in a couple of interviews, he said that he stands by his actions but doesn't see most films.

B-town will rejoice if Pahlaj is indeed thrown out. As of now, they are holding themselves back slightly, which is evident from their statements to SpotboyE during the day.

Director of Karan Johar's Kurbaan and Ungli, Rensil D'Silva said, "I have heard rumours about Pahlaj's exit, but there's no confirmation yet. But think of it, how could he not see films and yet sign on the censor certificate? Isn't that tantamount to the man who burns books on streets but hasn't read them? At least have the decency to see films and thus do your duty."

"Stifling creativity should be done away with. We are being made to feel as if we are in 500 B.C. Why is the Indian adult trusted to pay taxes if he is not allowed to see what he wants?" he added, his voice rising.

Karan Anshuman, whose directorial debut Bangistan was butchered by CBFC, said, "Do we need Censorship? No. So, do we need a Censor Chairperson? No. What we need is just certification. At least for now, I am happy that I am now making something for the web for Erosnow and I don't have to look behind my shoulder regarding my content."

Ace lensman-turned-producer Atul Kasbekar, whose maiden venture Neerja starring Sonam Kapoor, is up for release next year, said, "If you are a Censor Chief, you shouldn't make any film whatsoever until you are in office. Besides, I advocate certification, not censorship. Censorship in the age of Internet is redundant. Isn't everything that is scissored anyways available on the computer?"

Senior filmmaker Shyam Benegal said, "I have always had strong reservations on the manner in which Nihalani was operating. If it has been decided that he is going to be replaced, it's a reasonable decision for me. Samajh mein nahin aata why a kiss should be reduced from 8 seconds to 4 seconds (as done in the recent James Bond flick, Spectre)? I have not made a film since quite some time and hence I am not affected by his actions, but filmmakers have constantly complained about him."

Pritish Nandy's son Kushan said, "But what was the point in complaining? So far the complaints fell on deaf ears. Pahlaj said that he was following the government guidelines, and the I & B Minister had a different story to tell. A game of table-tennis was being played," and then added with a sigh, "I think that changing Pahlaj would be a very welcome step. People are talking about his exit and there's no smoke without fire, in fact, I had seen this coming. Imagine Sooraj Barjatya, whose work was never snipped, had to face a similar fate in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo." 

Added Kushan, "My dad suffered a lot while getting his film Mastizaade cleared (starring Sunny Leone, up for release in early 2016). He was very upset then, but somehow weathered the storm."

The wounds of Navdeep Singh, who suffered when he made Anushka Sharma's home production NH10, have not healed. Said Singh, "We had many cuts in NH 10. And yes, Anushka was terribly upset about it. But there's little we could do. Pahlaj's ways of functioning were rather irrational. Bahut manmarzi and manmaani. If Pahlaj goes, I hope things improve and we have our freedom of expression. If we have such abstract and barbaric ways at CBFC, the entire process of film-making goes for a toss. You write differently, you shoot differently. What the filmmaker has envisaged never translates on screen. We would rather not make films."

Rensil added that he is not sure if Pahlaj is imposing his personal views or the government's. "Every government has its share of conservative and liberal elements both."

However, Mahesh Bhatt said rather categorically, "Pahlaj is acting like a soldier who is acting out the will of the powers that rule you. Cosmetic changes will not help. The mindset needs to change - the current mindset is repressive and regressive. Each political party translates the Act according to its whims and political ideologies."

Added Bhatt, "The need of the hour is to make amendments in the 1952 Cinematography Act. Don't dance on the streets as if some despot has been removed, and we will have a field day in our right of expression, and we will be at par with the world when it comes to films," he said. 

And what does the man in the hot seat say? When contacted, Nihalani told SpotboyE, "I don't want to say anything for some time. Why don't you call me after four days? Perhaps I shall talk then."

Meanwhile, Pahlaj's Modi video which was aired with Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has been taken off from most theatres. A top official from Fun Cinemas (name withheld on request) confirmed that they chose not to play it for more than a day.

Readers, what do you think? Should Pahlaj continue or not? Will his exit make a difference ? Write to us in the 'Comments' section below, or on or with the hashtag #pahlajyesorno

Image Source: youtube/Pahlaj Nihalani, humaraforums, urbanasian, ovguide,naidunia, moviewebindia123, snipview, youtube/UTVmovies, youtube/T-Series,dailymailUK, beingroyal, vimeo, quora, & youtube/freakyfridays
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