A weird twist of fate has led to former CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani revolt against the censor board for ordering 20 cuts in his upcoming film. According to The Print, Nihalani has challenged the cuts ordered in his film Rangeela Raja by filing a petition in the Bombay High Court. He has accused his successor, Prasoon Joshi, of being a “political” appointee and of “harassing” him. This victim tone, however, doesn’t suit Mr Nihalini well.

Let’s recall, Nihalani had famously denied certification to Lipstick Under My Burkha, on grounds that it was “lady-oriented“. The poster boy of sanskars in Hindi cinema, forced the makers to chop up a kissing scene in Spectre, before allowing it to be released in India. Of course, erotic-romance film 50 Shades Of Gray suffered a much worse fate, as it was denied release in our country altogether. But karma has weird ways of getting back to you.

Nihalani’s films from the 90s had double meaning songs like Khada Hai Khada Hai, has finally tasted his own bitter medicine today.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Pahlaj Nihalani has filed a petition to challenge 20 cuts ordered in his film Rangeela Raja by CBFC.
  • He has accused his successor, Prasoon Joshi, of being a “political” appointee and of “harassing” him.
  • This entitlement to freedom of expression, was nowhere to be seen in his glossary till last year.
  • His flippant stance on censorship represents a very common tendency in our countrymen.

Speaking to reporters after filing his petition, he said that CBFC ‘s suggestions were unjustified and uncalled for. He firmly believes that the Govinda-starer film is not vulgar in any manner. His arguments seem eerily similar to that of many filmmakers, when he was the CBFC chief. We haven’t forgotten the outrage from both the filmmakers and the common public, around  the release of  Lipstick Under My Burkha.

The important point that needs to be addressed here is the tendency we have to change our stance on an issue, to suit our situation. Many people uphold laws and virtues, when they are convenient to them, and change their tune when those very dictates come asking for sacrifices. This entitlement to freedom of expression, which Nihalani is using to portray himself as a martyr was nowhere to be seen in his glossary till last year.

Many people uphold laws and virtues, when they are convenient to them, and change their tune when those very dictates come asking for sacrifices.

This is such an important life lesson. In the current polarised political and cultural climate, often we say or do things to please those up in the hierarchy. But it doesn’t take long for dynamics to change. Should one abuse powers then, to impress those high above in the ecosystem of power?

While a lot of us are making fun of Nihalani’s ordeal, let us not forget his flippant stance on censorship represents a very common tendency among our countrymen. It is indeed satisfying to watch Nihalani seethe and suffer. But then there are many of us who behave like him in different situations and contexts. Isn’t this a cue for us then, to introspect on our own behaviour then?

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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