Would Gangs Of Wasseypur have escaped Pahlaj Nihalani unscathed?

Wondering what cuts the CBFC chairman would have ordered to Anurag Kashyap's two-part magnum opus if the films were made today? Read on.

Mayur Lookhar

‘If ifs and buts were pots and pans, there'd be no work for tinkers' hands.' Most of us have heard this Sidhuism, one that was actually coined in the 19th century. And yet, we do often wonder: what if?

What if Anurag Kashyap were to release Gangs Of Wasseypur today instead of on 22 June 2012? Would Pahlaj Nihalani have cleared the film? Unlike Udta Punjab, which has only profanity and drug abuse, the two GOW films were full of profanity, violence, bloodbath, and some gory scenes.

Needless to say, Nihalani's axe would have fallen first on the profanity and the violence, so we look at some other scenes that might have riled the man the industry loves to hate today.

1. The insult to Smriti ‘Tulsi' Iraani

The opening scene of Gangs Of Wasseypur had the Qureshis firing indiscriminately at Sardar Khan's home. The first bullet blew up a TV set on which was about to begin the popular soap Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, the show that made Smriti Z Irani, now India's human resources development minister, a household name in the role of Tulsi Virani. Nihalani might have taken that as an attack on Irani. Remember, he and his team objected to the mere use of words like MLA in Udta Punjab. While in Wonderland, we do wonder how Ekta Kapoor, Kashyap's co-producer on Udta Punjab, felt about her show being blown to smithereens!

2. No Wasseypur please; And no GOW

Geography must be sacred to Nihalani, or it probably scared him at school, but he didn’t want the word Punjab or the names of any of the state's cities in Udta Punjab. One does not know how much love Nihalani has for a rustic, backward place like Wasseypur, but perhaps he would have ordered Kashyap to remove the name and references to any other towns in Bihar from the film. That would have reduced the title to Gangs of….

Title apart, Nihalani would have disapproved of Gangs Of Wasseypur being abbreviated as GOW. He surely would not have countenanced anyone hurting the sentiments of the cattle class, even inadvertently.

3. Bloodbath at the abattoir

Hailing from a clan of butchers, the Qureshis did not just use their abattoir to slaughter animals for meat; they also used it as a place to chop their enemies into bits. The meat on show all round made for gruesome viewing as it is. Considering how sensitive the matter of beef consumption is today, there is no way Nihalani would have allowed Kashyap’s characters to wield their meat cleavers with such abandon.

4. No incestuous thoughts

An intriguing sub-plot in the first film was the relationship between Nagma ((Richa Chadda) and Nasir (Piyush Mishra). Nasir is not only Shahid Khan’s confidant, but is also godfather to his son Sardar (Manoj Bajpayee), saving him from attacks by Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). He raises Sardar as his own, and so Sardar’s wife Nagma is like a daughter-in-law to him. The Nagma-Nasir relationship takes a new turn, however, when Nagma, upset by Sardar’s philandering, decides to vent her frustration by sleeping with Nasir. Only her young son Faizal's presence prevents the two from acting on the impulse.

But infidelity by a woman is a sin and so the sunskari Nihalani would have held that such scenes go against Indian culture and tarnish the image of the Indian housewife. Also, Nihalani would have ordered Kashyap to change Sardar Khan's second wife's name (Durga) so as not to hurt religious sentiments.

5. Insulting Shabbir Kumar

Many of those who grew up on Hindi cinema in the 1980s would have screamed, "How? How could Gangs Of Wasseypur have insulted the great playback singer Shabbir Kumar?" All right, today's film-goer probably hasn't heard of him, but the man was quite popular three decades ago. Yet, Yashpal Sharma's character belts out two popular Shabbir Kumar tracks – Yaad Teri Aayegi and Teri Meherbaniyan – on two different occasions, with a lisp! Now that would have been seen as insulting to Shabbir Kumar. Don't forget, the CBFC took offence to a dog being named Jackie Chan in Udta Punjab. Okay, so Shabbir Kumar was no Chan, but singing chartbusters with a lisp? Now that would never have passed muster.

6. Faizal-Mohsina suhaag raat

The first part has a sensual lovemaking scene between Sardar Khan and Durga, but the scene you really wonder about is the wedding night of Faizal (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Mohsina (Huma Qureshi). Not a finger can be seen, but Huma Qureshi's moans would have brought the walls of the CBFC down. No, this ain't happening. Cut it. Cut it.

7. The brutal murder of Ramadhir Singh 

Blood flowed like water in the two GOW films. Viewers had acclimatised themselves to the bloodbath, but the climax in the second part in which Faizal guns down Ramadhir Singh must have left many gaping in disbelief .Faizal pumped many shots into Singh, but he wasn't done. The gangster then shoved his gun into Singh's bullet-riddled torso. This scene would have been too gruesome for Nihalani's liking.