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Pahlaj Nihalani responds to being sacked as CBFC chief

Pahlaj Nihalani sacked as CBFC chief; Adman and lyricist Prasoon Joshi to take his place

Pahlaj Nihalani
Pahlaj Nihalani

Last evening, the Central Board of Film Certification in India (CBFC) chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani was asked to step down, with adman, writer Prasoon Joshi replacing him.

Appointed on January 19, 2015, Nihalani was to finish his term in January, 2018. Hours after being fired, the veteran producer spoke to mid-day.

Did this news come as a shock to you?
I was not shocked at all. I’m happy and relieved. I have done this job to the best of my capacity. I wish all the best to the film industry, and to people who were against me.

Would you like to comment on what’s happened?
Whatever has happened is the government’s decision. I respect it. I’m happy with my stint as the CBFC chairperson. I’ve always performed my duty with honesty, sincerity. I have no regrets.

Current guidelines of the Censor Board are outdated since cinema has evolved. We’ve heard that you were trying to make changes over the past few months?
Yes, I have tried to do that and sent all suggestions to the government, some time ago. I recommended new CBFC guidelines, and ratings system, even before the Shyam Benegal Committee did. I am a film industry man, so I know its requirements.

Talking of your future plans, buzz is there’s a move to induct you into the I&B Ministry?
I don’t know anything about this.

Prasoon Joshi
Prasoon Joshi

New committee
Prasoon Joshi heads the committee. Other members reportedly include Vidya Balan, Gautami Tadimalla, Narendra Kohli, Naresh Chandra, Neil Herbert, Vivek Agnihotri, TS Nagabharana, Ramesh Patange, Vani Tripathi, Jeevitha Rajasekhar and Mihir Bhuta.

The way ahead
Prasoon Joshi has been appointed as the new CBFC chief. We reached out to Shyam Benegal, who had submitted a report to I&B Ministry proposing ways to revamp the Censor Board. He said, "Prasoon Joshi is a fine choice. He’ll work to the best of his abilities."

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