Prasoon Joshi to replace Pahlaj Nihalani as CBFC chief

FILE Pahlaj Nihalani. TOI

Nihalani has found himself embroiled in a number of controversies since taking over as chairman of the CBFC. There had apparently been major pressure on the government to remove Mr Nihalini, who had once said "I am proud to be a Modi chamcha". Honoured with Padma Shri, the National Award victor penned the theme song for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and other campaigns. CBFC headed by Pahlaj Nihalani after denying certification for nearly six months, demanded chopping off 27 scenes from the film.

The movie "Lipstick Under My Burkha" was rejected by the CBFC on basis of the film being "lady-oriented" in a shocking display of sexism even after it had won several awards on the worldwide circuit for its radical content.

But he began running into skirmishes with film producers over cuts, beeps and disclaimers he insisted on, which the industry often found unfair. In 2015, he edited the duration of kissing scenes in the James Bond franchise Spectre. Vociferous protests following his decision to recommend 89 cuts in "Udta Punjab", besides demanding that the reference to the state be removed.

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More details are awaited at present, concerning Joshi's appointment. The ministry's decision has been welcomes by the industry, with veteran actor Raza Murad calling the high-handedness with which Nahlani treated producers "suffocating".

Prasoon Joshi, who is set to replace Nihalani, is a Padma Shri awardee and has received two National Film Awards for Best Lyrics, for his work in Taare Zameen Par (2007) and Chittagong (2013). He comes from the advertising background and will have a modern point of view. I am sure Prasoon will have a different outlook.

Nihalani raked up several controversies during his tenure.

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