Mumbai: “Stop playing nanny,” is the message from several film personalities to censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, who is facing flak for reducing the length of a kiss in the Bond movie “Spectre”.
Nihalani has been facing criticism in the media, from the industry and his own board members for his unilateral approach in clearing films.
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal said censorship should be abolished.
“… I am concerned about the imposition of censorship here, which has no real purpose except to come in the way of you expression. That’s the kind of censorship I oppose.
“There is a certain amount of debate going on in the press about censorship and chairman and how it does not appeal to large number of people. This kind of thing does not make sense. It has no place,” Benegal said on the sidelines of IFFI in Goa.
“Bajrangi Bhaijaan” helmer Kabir Khan, who is also in Goa to attend NFDC Film Baazar, said he found the whole fiasco surrounding the censorship of “Spectre” kissing scenes “ridiculous”.
“We have to be told as adults we can’t see a kiss? And a kiss being reduced from 30 seconds to 8 seconds? Are those 22 seconds going to destroy our morality and the culture of our country? This is absolutely ridiculous that censor board has to act like a nanny. Their job is to certify…
“I don’t think we should be getting down into removing cuss words and kisses. It’s juvenile.”
Actress Sonakshi Sinha without taking names, said international films never faced such an issue in the country earlier.
“Whoever is playing nanny should first kind of rewind back and see the films that they have been making and then kind of figure out and decide what is to be done.
“But I am not on board with this because we’ve been having international films playing over here for the longest time and we have never faced such an issue,” she said while indirectly taking a pot shot at Nihalani’s past filmography.
I believe our culture is still very much intact…,” Sonakshi said.
In his defence, Nihalani said his decisions are based on rules and if anyone finds anything against him, he will step down.
The censor board chief is also in news for his proposed film on FTII students, who have been protesting against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s new chairman.
“Prove it and then remove me. I have no issue. If I am wrong, I am going to step down,” Nihalani told a TV channel.
Earlier, veteran actress Shabana Azmi had wondered how could someone decide what length a kiss should be.
“Just two days ago, very honourable chief of the board of film certification, without any consultation with the board members, has edited a kiss in James Bond film from its actual length to half a length. He thinks 50 seconds is enough to watch a kissing scene. I don’t understand? What is the right length?,” Shabana had said.
Lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar, while addressing Nihalani’s alleged ‘anti-national’, comments against FTII students, said, “I mean this allegation is bizarre… you can say that they are not disciplined, their demands are not reasonable… whatever you want to say. But calling them anti-national is height of absurdity and I must say that only Mr Nihalani could achieve this… But one thing is very obvious, Mr Nihalani is misusing his office and the earlier he vacates it, the better.”
Nihalani has been under attack from his own board members, who have accused the censor board chief of not taking others into confidence.
Board member Ashoke Pandit is planning to write a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Information and & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley while according to Nandini Sardesai, Nihalani has been running the board unilaterally since being appointed.