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Nihalani's CBFC wants 'mann ki baat' removed from dialogue as it is PM's radio show

The board, led by Pahlaj Nihalani, has asked for the removal of the phrase from Dakxin Chhara's upcoming film, Sameer, citing that it belongs to 'PM's radio show'. 

Shriram Iyengar

In a move that only points at Pahlaj Nihalani's Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) partisan policy, the board has directed the phrase 'mann ki baat' to be removed from an upcoming film. Filmmaker Dakxin Chhara has been asked to remove the phrase from one of the scenes in the film since it is known as the 'PM's radio show'. 

According to Mid-Day newspaper, the director was asked to remove the word specifically since it refers to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's eponymous radio show. The director was quoted by the tabloid saying, "They categorically asked for the words 'mann ki baat' to be removed from the first sentence. When I approached the Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, he told me: PM ka radio show hai, delete the line." 

The line features in a scene between the villain of the film (played by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) and the lead character (Subrat Dutta). The entire context of the phrase goes, "Ek mann ki baat kahoon? Tum character accha bana lete ho!" The hero retorts, "Waise sir, chai se ch***ya banana aap hi se seekha hai!"

By the dialogue, it does not hint or infer to anything political, or to the Prime Minister's radio show. Ironically, the board did not express any objections to the use of the expletive in the second line. The filmmaker said, "We were not given an oral hearing before Censor Board members, which is supposed to be mandatory. The board, despite granting us an 'A' (adults only) certificate, asked for certain scenes involving torture and a bomb blast, to be chopped mercilessly. If we comply, the impact of those scenes would be lost altogether." 

Chhara's film is a thriller based on the 2008 Gujarat riots.

The board has run into a fair bit of criticism for their inconsistent decisions to keep or remove scenes. From their objection to Alankrita Shrivastava's award winning, Lipstick Under My Burka, for being 'lady-oriented' to their decision to remove the mention of Amrish Puri and Amitabh Bachchan from a dialogue in Anaarkali of Aarah because it would 'hurt sentiments', the board is coming under severe criticism. 

Filmmaker Chhara has suggested that he will challenge the board's decision.