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Moral victory for filmmakers: Censor board's list of banned words put on hold

The war between censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani and CBFC member Ashoke Pandit took a new turn on Monday with the controversial 'objectionable' and 'abusive' words list being put on hold

The 28 cuss words that Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani had banned from being used in films has been put on hold for now till further notice. The decision was taken after a meeting of the board members at a Mumbai hotel on Monday.

ALSO READ: Rift in Censor board: Chief Pahlaj Nihalani defends controversial cuss words list, slams other member

A source said, ''One of the board members told in the meeting that neither the board nor the chairperson had the right to take a unilateral decision. The board can only recommend a change in a guidelines and it is for the information and broadcasting ministry to take the decision. The chairperson’s role is to take the recommendation to the ministry.'' The board members pointed out that the decision to ban the cuss words from films was taken by Nihalani without the consent of the board members.

Censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani
Censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani

A member even read out a clause from the Cinematograph Act stating the chief had to take the consent from the members and if it was not taken the decision did not hold. “It was after which the board members and chief decided to put the ban on cuss words on hold till further notice.”

Some of the cuss words that Nihalani had asked producers to refrain from using included h....k..r, H******da, MC, BC in Hindi films and son of a b***ch and 14 other words in English films. However, some of the films that fell victim to the axe of cuss words were Nana Patekar’s ‘Ab Tak Chhappan 2’, which has about seven words beeped and about 7 cuss words deleted. Anushka Sharma's film ‘NH 10’, which also has a lot of cuss words, too faced problems with the board but thankfully the film has yet to be censored. The film's trailer got an ‘A’ certificate and the film which was slated for release on March 6 has been pushed to March 13. Varun Dhawan's ‘Badlapur’ too had a lot of cuss words that were beeped out.

It maybe recalled that after Nihalani sent out the circular to the film producers’ body, filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who is also a board member, had tweeted against the ban of cuss words. His tweet read, "As a Filmmaker & #CBFC board member do not endorse the list issued by the Chairperson On words not to be used in films.I ws nt consulted." [sic]

There is a need for the industry to get proactive and take a stand on such issues, the source said, adding, “Producers should’ve moved the revising committee instead of taking the cuts in order to hurry their release. Besides submissions should also be much in advance for the filmmaker to right for his or her creative rights.''

Meanwhile, a delegation of filmmakers and producers will be meeting Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister of state Rajvardhan Rathore on February 25 to discuss issues facing the film industry, including the CBFC.

It maybe recalled that after Rathore had opposed CBFC chief Nihalani’s diktat on ban of the cuss words in films after being informed of it. The minister had said that if a filmmaker needs to keep the spirit of his movie intact they could take a ‘A’ certificate for their film.

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