Former chairman of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani in an interview with Lehren TV claimed that Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Smriti Irani applied too much pressure of him and since he did not give away, he was targeted and thrown out of office.
“At the I&B Ministry, I was their target number one. It all started when I didn’t clear Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar. She gave me a call asking why I hadn’t done so. I said, I was following guidelines and now the film is already with the Tribunal. I told her if she wants she can get it cleared from the Tribunal. I wasn’t massaging her ego and it was only a matter of time before I was thrown out,” he said.Pahlaj Nihalani, Former chairman of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)
Pahlaj was removed from his post on 11 August, 2017, announced by the I&B ministry which replaced him with noted adman and lyricist Prasoon Joshi. Nihalani whose term was to end in January next year courted controversies after assuming office for trying to censor films and refuse certification. Speculation of his preterm removal gained traction after he stalled Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar, a film based on Emergency.
““There was pressure from every side to not clear the film. I cannot tell you how much pressure I was under. Despite that, I cleared the film albeit with cuts (there were over 70 cuts until the Bombay High Court allowed the film’s release with a single one),” he told the channel.
The new board of members includes actors Vidya Balan and Narendra Kohli, along with Vivek Agnihotri, Waman Kendre, Gautami Tadimalla and many others.