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'Ghost' logic causes CBFC to mute Hanuman Chalisa in Phillauri


According to the board headed by Pahlaj Nihalani, chanting the Hanuman Chalisa eradicates ghosts, does not pacify them. 

Keyur Seta

It has become routine for the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to use its scissors on scenes that would have been passed without a hitch in the days of our grandparents. The latest film to face the board's wrath is Anushka Sharma’s Phillauri. The CBFC ordered the removal of the Hanuman Chalisa chant from the background of a scene in the film. 

According to reports, the board had a problem with the mantra playing in the background while Anushka Sharma's ghost hovers in a scene. Reports said the board objected to it because the mantra is supposed to eradicate ghosts, not pacify them.

There is another scene in the film where the same mantra is being recited by actor Suraj Sharma, but that has been allowed since he is reciting it to drive ghosts away. 

A publication quoted a source saying, “This amounted to hurting religious sentiments. The CBFC asked for the Hanuman Chalisa to be removed from the soundtrack. All the audience will hear now is Suraj's long droning chant [in the bathtub] which would be inaudible.” 

The makers were also asked to add a lengthy disclaimer at the beginning of the movie stating that they neither promote superstitions nor ghosts. 

Ironically, Nihalani, the CBFC chief, had stated that it is not the board's job to judge the content of a film. He said, “In my opinion, it’s not the CBFC’s job to sit in judgement on the content of a film. We can only make amends in the presentation of the content. Not propagating superstition and blind faith falls in the jurisdiction of state governments. If we sat in judgement over films on ghosts, then we would have to question why classics like Mahal (1949), Woh Kaun Thi? (1964), Gumnaam (1965), and Lekin... (1991) were passed."