Film producer and former chief of the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani, is ready to take to court the very organisation he once headed.
After a prolonged wait, Nihalani’s upcoming Govinda-starrer Rangeela Raja has finally been screened for the CBFC just two weeks ahead of its release, and the producer has been asked to make 20 cuts. Needless to say, he’s screaming vengeance and conspiracy.
“On one hand, they made me wait for so long and allowed Thugs of Hindostan to get a screening before my film, even though I had applied earlier. Now, I think they are taking some kind of revenge against me. They have given me 20 cuts that are nothing short of ridiculous,” says the veteran filmmaker.
He adds, “I have been the head of the CBFC, and I have been a film producer for so many years. They are suggesting strange cuts. There is one scene in which Shakti Kapoor stands up for Govinda saying, ‘Is dharti pe jab jab Raavan Sita ka haran karta hai, tab Ram ka saath nibhane ke liye Hanuman aayega!’ and they want it cut. Meanwhile, they have allowed Veere Di Wedding and films with excessive violence to be passed. Rangeela Raja has another sequence in which a husband slaps his wife to extract the truth from her, saying, “Main to kabhi Ram tha hee nahin, magar tu to Sita thi,’ and they say that I am depicting violence against women. I have been the head of the board, and I know the rules. Now, they are teaching me.”
But the producer is not one to take this “insult” lying down. Vowing to teach the board a lesson, he says, “I am now directly going to court against the CBFC, without going to the Revising Committee or the Appellate Tribunal, because there is a provision for the same. I know the rules; I was the one who had the website made. I have got a release date to catch and the chairman of the board will be too busy to hold a screening for the Revising Committee immediately.”