National

Censor board chief on his way out?

A file photo of Pahlaj Nihalani. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt  

The absence of Central Board of Film Certification Chairman Pahlaj Nihalani at a board meeting with Minister of State for the Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore on Tuesday has triggered strong speculation that he might be sacked soon.

For, it comes a day after the film fraternity met Mr. Rathore and senior officials of the CBFC to discuss their concerns over censorship and strongly pitched for the removal of Mr. Nihalani.

The Minister met members of the CBFC on Tuesday. Fuelling speculation, Mr. Nihalani abstained from the meeting.

The controversial chairman, who implemented a ban on “cuss words” in films, was unpopular with the film industry and his own colleagues for his autocratic ways and stifling creative freedom through “moral policing.”

It could not be known what exactly transpired in the meeting, though it was believed that Mr. Rathore would discuss with the board members the concerns of the industry surrounding the critical issue of censorship.

Mr. Rathore, seeking to downplay the controversy, said they had discussed ideas and suggestions on how film certification process could be improved.

“Film certification is so robust in itself that no one person can affect it,” Mr. Rathore said after the meeting, which he described as “unofficial.”

Mr. Nihalani told The Hindu that he was down with fever for the last few days and so could not participate in board activities.

Earlier on Monday, while listening to the grievances of film producers, Mr. Rathore, without committing or reacting to the special request of Mr. Nihalani’s removal, assured the film fraternity that their concerns would be addressed. The role of CBFC was to certify and not censor, Mr. Rathore acknowledged while telling the industry that “certification is a process and not an individual decision,” in what can be construed as a clear dig at Mr. Nihalani’s style of functioning.

Sources said that the Minister also hinted at the amendment of the Cinematograph Act in the near future.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 4:19:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/censor-board-chief-on-his-way-out/article7004537.ece

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