How was "Sanskaari" Pahlaj Nihalani tenure - Fusion - WerIndia

How was “Sanskaari” Pahlaj Nihalani tenure?

How was "Sanskaari" Pahlaj Nihalani tenure?

Pahlaj Nihalani, after a short two-and-a-half-year term of controversy, turmoil, and outrage, has finally been fired from his position as the head of the Central Board of Film Certification (or CFBC). However, more than certifying films, he rather became known for censoring them, cutting “uncultured” material from them or disqualifying films that he believed were uncultured as a whole.

He became known as the “Sanskaari Chief” (or cultured chief) in the film industry, because of his determination for all Indian films to adhere to Indian cultural “sanskaars”, or conventions. This is a rundown of what he did throughout his career, from his appointment right up until his recent sacking.

His career began when he produced a video for the campaign of the now-Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. He was then appointed as the Chief of the CBFC in January of 2015.

In this month, he stated that certain curse words would be prohibited under his reign as CBFC chief. He made a list of such words and the only contexts in which they could be used, if at all.

In October of that year, he cut parts of a kiss scene in the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, in order to adhere to the Indian sanskaars. This is when he began to be referred to as the Sanskaari Chief.

He allowed the trailers of Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 and Mastizaade to be cleared in December of 2015, in order to wipe away the “sanskaari” image of the CBFC. However, he later returned to this image in January of 2016 by awarding an “A” (Adult) certificate to the movie Aligarh for its homosexual themes.

In June of that year, he refused to give certification to the movie Haraamkhor for its theme of an affair between a schoolteacher and an underage student. In the same month, he suggested eighty-nine cuts for the film Udta Punjab for its themes of young drug addiction in Punjab, even suggesting to remove a signboard’s mentioning of Punjab.

In December of 2016, he took out several kiss scenes from Befikre, including a homosexual scene. In July of this year, he even refused to give certification to the movie Lipstick Under My Burkha for being too femininely-oriented.

In the same month, he banned all smoking and drinking from films. For many, this was the last straw.

Rumours about his sacking began to go around. He said that if he were to be fired, he would “leave swiftly, wishing his successor all the best”.

Therefore, in August of this year, he was sacked from his position as the Chief of the CBFC and is replaced with the lyricist Prasoon Joshi.

Image Credit: Bollywood Hungama / CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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