New Delhi: Censor Chief Pahlaj Nihalani on Wednesday spoke to NewsX regarding the Udta Punjab controversy. He said that the allegations against him were baseless. Defending the board’s stand, Nihalani asserted that there is no political influence.
“There is no problem with the film. They were supposed to submit the cuts yesterday but they haven’t done that. Balaji had even said they will be getting the cuts but they have chosen to go the media instead. So that’s the only issue,” Nihalani said.
Here is the full interview:
NewsX: We have been trying you since yesterday but you’ve disappeared.
Pahlaj Nihalani: My phone lost battery. Why should I disappear I’m not afraid of anyone.
NewsX: How do you react to the huge controversy surrounding ‘Udta Punjab’?
Pahlaj Nihalani: It’s nothing new for me or for Anurag Kashyap. There’s nothing much to comment on it.
NewsX: How do you react to the present row when a renowned filmmaker levels allegations against the Censor Board to the extent that the Censor chief acts like a ‘dictator’ and that a film maker has no creative freedom?
Pahlaj Nihalani: I am not taking it personally either with him or with any filmmaker; there’s no question of acting like a ‘dictator’.
NewsX: Anurag Kashyap alleges that you have made it personal and that since he bypassed you during ‘Bombay Velvet’ you didn’t like that and that you are out of sync of present times.
Pahlaj Nihalani: We had cleared his film ‘Raman Raghav 2.0’ with an A certificate. I don’t know him personally I have no relations with him, so there is no question of taking it personally.
NewsX: What’s the contention of the Censor Board with ‘Udta Punjab’? What are the problem areas after all?
Pahlaj Nihalani: There is no problem with the film. They were supposed to submit the cuts yesterday but they haven’t done that. Balaji had even said they will be getting the cuts but they have chosen to go the media instead. So that’s the only issue.
NewsX: We have had so many films on gang wars and even comedy films with many double-meaning liners and songs. How’s that okay for the sensibility of the Board and such films where a filmmaker says creative freedom is curtailed becomes an issue?
Pahlaj Nihalani: We aren’t concerned with what filmmakers make; we just follow CBFC guidelines. If they are not satisfied they are free to go to the tribunal or the court. We have nothing to do with the person on what they are thinking or making. There are no problems with the movie as such, except some of the producers grumbling, which they have been since the days of the film ‘Paanch’ which wasn’t released. See the history of the person who’s grumbling today. His operation is always come to the media and then he works through the media.
NewsX: So you allege that he’s working as per an agenda.
Pahlaj Nihalani: Yes he’s working as per an agenda. That’s his agenda why should I interfere in his freedom of speech and expression
NewsX: Sir, do you feel our society isn’t ready for such subjects?
Pahlaj Nihalani: We have a rule of the government and we go by the rule.
NewsX: But don’t you feel with changing times the Board should be a little liberal in its approach?
Pahlaj Nihalani: I cannot give any personal opinion about the society. We have a responsibility and we go for that.