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For producers disagreeing with me, today is Diwali: Nihalani on his ouster

After his removal as the chief of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani warns that films now might see an increase in 'pornography and vulgar content'.

Our Correspondent

The sudden, but expected, removal of Pahlaj Nihalani as the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) late on Friday evening sent the film industry into a tizzy.

As of today, Prasoon Joshi has been appointed as the new head of the CBFC. A list of new members has also been issued including Vidya Balan, Gautami Tadimalla, Narendra Kohli and Vivek Agnihotri, among others.

Nihalani, however, remained defiant and justified his stance about 'censoring' films. Speaking to The Economic Times, he said, "Censorship was necessary and doing away with it would mean filmmakers will resort to showing pornography and vulgarity even in normal films."

The former chief had a torrential term, including CBFC's involvement in a legal dispute over the certification of Abhishek Chaubey's Udta Punjab in 2016. The board had to relent after the Bombay High Court decided in favour of the filmmakers.

The judgment clearly directed the board to only certify, saying "CBFC should only certify, not censor. The public is the biggest censor. CBFC doesn't need to censor."

However, Nihalani said that people are being confused into believing that the role of the CBFC was only certification and not censorship.

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In the report, he said, "The CBFC will always be known as the ‘censor board’ not certification board but some people in government have forgotten that. They created some confusion that CBFC shouldn't cut, only certify. That is not the way it works. Even the tribunal cuts. Also some producers show different versions of movies to the CBFC and to the tribunal only to humiliate me."

Defending his decisions, the former chairman said, "I have done my duty honestly. I came to know from the media about my appointment and about my sacking too."

He also added, "Ninety eight percent of the producers were happy with me but for two per cent of producers, today is Diwali. They must be rejoicing that everything wrong that I was fighting against might be back."