The CBFC chairman and known supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pahlaj Nihalani, was on Friday sacked from his post. Renowned lyricist, Prasoon Joshi, has been appointed in his place.
Joshi was appointed with immediate effect for a period of three years or until further orders, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said in a release.
Joshi, 45, was awarded the Padma Shri in 2015 for his contributions towards the field of arts, literature and advertising.
He had also penned the anthem for the Swachh Bharat Mission. He has received a number of awards, including the National Award for best lyrics twice.
The government also reconstituted the existing board.
The new members are Gautami Tadimalla, Narendra Kohli, Naresh Chandra Lal, Neil Herbert Nongkynrih, Vivek Agnihotri, Waman Kendre, Vidya Balan, T S Nagabharana, Ramesh Patange, Vani Tripati Tikoo, Jeevitha Rajasekhar and Mihir Bhuta.
Nihalani’s three-year tenure was to end in January next year.
“The order about Prasoon Joshi being appointed as the new chief of CBFC also says his tenure is for three years or till further orders. But this order came before three years (of Nilahani’s tenure ending),” Anurag Shrivastav, CEO of CBFC, said.
“… the central government is pleased to appoint Prasoon Joshi as Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in an honorary capacity from August 11, 2017 for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” the release said.
Director Agnihotri, who was appointed as one of the members of the board, told PTI from the US, “With people like Prasoon Joshi and Vidya Balan, we all are very progressive. We are not outsiders and will look at it (films) from fresh angle.”
Recently, Nihalani was in news related to the multiple cuts in Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Indu Sarkar” and refusal to certify “Lipstick Under My Burqa”.
Nihalani had courted several controversies for his insane decisions to censor Bollywood movies. Most recently, he had raised objection on the use of word ‘intercourse’ in Shah Rukh Khan starrer Harry Met Sejal. He had later bizarrely asked the TV channel, Mirror Now, to collect 1 lakh votes for him to clear the scene with word ‘intercourse.’ However, when the channel indeed obtained 1 lakh votes, Nihalani was seen scurrying for cover from the TV camera.
He had also famously refused to clear a documentary on Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal.
Director duo Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla’s “An Insignificant Man” traces the rise of Kejriwal and the birth of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Not too long ago, The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) under Nihalani had sunk to a new low when it verbally communicated to a film maker to mute four words including ‘cow’ in his documentary on Amartya Sen.
Las yea, Nihalani had decided to issue the film on Jungle Book UA certificate calling the movie ‘scary.
The biggest controversy, however, came in when he refused to give clearance to Anurag Kashyap’s Udta Punjab unless he made 69 cuts in the movie and removed all references to Punjab and elections. The film-maker had later moved the High Court to get he censor board’s order reversed.