Pahlaj Nihalani claims he had come up with new rating categories even before Shyam Benegal panel

Updated: Dec 16, 2016, 18:25 IST | Bharati Dubey |

CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani claims that he had come up with new rating categories even before Shyam Benegal panel had stepped in for reforms. Achha? Well done!


CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani; (right) Shyam Benegal

In April, the Shyam Benegal committee-report, submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as part of a suggested revamp of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), had recommended increasing the number of categories of certification as an amendment of the archaic Cinematography Act of 1952.

Now, CBFC chairman, Pahlaj Nihalani, who in the past has attracted the wrath of filmmakers for his overzealousness in excising 'inappropriate' bits, has claimed that he had suggested upping the certification categories in his letter to the Ministry in February. "My recommendations are attached in the Shyam Benegal Committee report. There, I have stated the reason for the need for more categories. This way, the filmmaker will get a chance to show what he wants to," Nihalani said, adding that certification should vary depending on the subject of the film, treatment and audio-visual content.

"It needs to be done while keeping prevalent global content in mind and [the need to] safeguard creative expression," he said, adding that certification should be termed 'classifications' to protect artistic expressions. He also suggested that the no smoking disclaimer be shown by the exhibitor, not the filmmaker.

Highlighting his suggestions for obtaining the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) when required, Nihalani recommended that international filmmakers be exempted from the need to obtain the permission. However, for Indians shooting films abroad, an NOC must be mandatory.

Pahlaj's categories

G (General; for all)
PG (Parental Guidance recommended for kids under 15)
M (Mature; for 15+ audience)x
MA (Mature Accom-panied. Under 15 can't watch film or rent videos unless accompanied by parent or adult guardian. May contain violence, offensive language, smoking/ drinking scenes)
R (Restricted to adults. May include anti-social activities, violence, drinking, horror and smoking scenes)
R21 (For 21+; May contain graphic violence, sexually explicit activity, double meaning dialogues and other disturbing content) 
Once a film is certified R or R21, it can't be rated otherwise on revision

Trolled for Befikre decision 
Backing his decision on green-lighting nudity and intimate scenes in Befikre, Nihalani said, "People called me sanskari, now, when we have certified a film, keeping the global audience in mind, I am being trolled. We have cut [scenes] where needed. Main public se poochhna chahta hoon, do they want us to be liberal or not?"

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