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I opposed the recommendations of the Benegal committee, admits Pahlaj Nihalani


The former chairperson of the CBFC admitted that he was not too keen on adapting the suggestions of the committee led by Shyam Benegal to reform the board.

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Our Correspondent

Since his removal as the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani has been busy with the upcoming release of his film, Julie 2. During his controversial tenure as the CBFC chief, Nihalani was often pulled up for not implementing the recommendations made by the Shyam Benegal committee.

In a recent interview to FirstPost.com, the producer admitted that while it was at his behest the committee was formed, he opposed their recommendations. Nihalani said in the interview, "Shyam Benegal has made only adult films all his life. I was surprised that he was assigned to oversee this and he is one person who never wanted censorship in the first place. I even opposed the recommendations of Benegal committee."

The Benegal committee submitted its recommendations in 2016 for a rating system on which films could be classified for viewing. However, the system is yet to be implemented.

Talking about his 'sanskari' (conservative) reform system, Nihalani said that it was his decision to cut down a kissing scene in James Bond's Spectre (2016) that led to the beginning of a controversial tenure. He said, "I became a 'sanskari chairperson' because of a kiss, which I chopped off in a James Bond film. If Aamir Khan kisses in his films, it's acceptable to people but they don’t apply the same logic to a James Bond film. People got affected when a kiss in a James Bond film was passed under 'U/A' certificate. Nobody knows but people at Sony were elated as all earlier spy flicks of James Bond were awarded an 'A' certificate. People did not notice it at that time because the media was not that active."

While his work as CBFC chairman remains infamous for his strictly conservative stance, his association as producer in Julie 2 has raised some eyebrows. However, Nihalani defended the film saying, "As far as the poster (of Julie 2) is concerned, everything is covered. You can’t even spot the cleavage. How is this asanskari (not conservative)?"

The former chairperson also blamed a 'bandi' (lady) as the main reason for his tenure coming to an end. He said, "Two ministers really appreciated my work but there was this bandi who thought she knew much more than me. I have been part of the industry for more than 50 years. Despite that, she thought she knew more than me. She got better of the government and I was shown the door."

For now though, Julie 2 has been delayed and will release later in the month.