Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani

 Loony film censor wants to ban everything



 Update: A few choice cuss words aimed at the film censor...

Indian government considers reigning in loony film censor


Link Here 18th February 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
pahlaj-nihalaniThe government is not too amused with new censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani's volubility and sources said he may be asked to pipe down. Nihalani has courted controversy with his list of around 28 cuss words which he wants filmmakers to avoid in their movies.

The list, which includes some 28 cuss words, has angered filmmakers. They have called it absurd, regressive and against creative freedom.

Nihalani said his office had made the list of the most commonly used cuss words:

I have not made up these words. The list was given to me by my office and it was circulated among us. It was not for the media. It was not to be made public. It was given to them to follow the guidelines.

I am just following the guidelines. I am not bringing anything on my own. If the industry people have a problem, they should go to the ministry and get their approval. I will follow it.

Film makers took him up on his words and called on the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry resulting in a meeting between eminent filmmakers and junior minister Rajyavardhan Rathore slated for February 25. Gangs of Wasseypur director Anurag Kashyap said:

I am against censorship of any kind. The meeting with the minister went off well and for the first time, I feel that we have been able to bridge the gap between the government and the film industry.

Supriyo, who is minister of state for urban development, said he felt for the cause. Referring to Nihalani's diktat, he said, Maybe, some people are speaking out of turn and are not really in tune with the film industry's needs.

No cuss words. No bloodshed. No violence against women. No double meanings. Filmmakers: No movies then!

See  article from  abplive.in

Besides the ban on certain words, the circular issued by the censor board also says that no Indian male will look at an Indian female, they won't hold hands, they won't smile and he can't breathe into her ear!

 

 Updated: He's probably uttering a few choice words himself...

India's loony film censor under siege over ludicrous attempt to ban strong language


Link Here 28th February 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything

pahlaj-nihalaniControversial new rules banning cuss words from all Indian films, issued on the directive of new Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, has been put on hold following protests by several board members at a CBFC meeting. This was the first board meeting after Nihalani took over as CBFC chief.

Reportedly, the circular that listed cuss words in Hindi and English, including Bombay , was discussed at the meeting and several board members opposed it.

It was brought to Nihalani's notice that in keeping with the Cinematograph Act 1952, which guides CBFC's functioning, the chairperson does not have the authority to take such decisions and that such powers rested only with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Sources said the circular was put on hold and the board decided to convene another meeting to discuss the issue at length.

A board member, who refused to be named, said:

The role of the chairperson and the board is merely recommending and advising the I&B. This became clear to Pahlaj Nihalani during the meeting. The decision whether or not the circular should be implemented now rests with the ministry.

Follow up meetings have taken place and reports are awaited.

Update: Government rejects loony film censor's ban on strong language

28th February 2015. See  article from  oyetimes.com

I&B logoIndian filmmakers are relieved that the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Rathore has announced that Bollywood will not be required to follow the list of banned cuss words made by the new chief of the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani. The decision came after certain reputed filmmakers decided to consult the Ministry of I&B after Pahlaj passed the order of banning cuss words from films.

Pahlaj Nihalani decided to take matters into his own hands when films started using many cuss words as a part of the screenplay and he ordered the ban of over 28 words to be used in the film. It included words like harami , bastard and he even refused to allow the Bombay to be a part of the film because the city is now termed Mumbai . Bollywood personalities had a meeting with the I&B Ministry after which they reached to the conclusion that Bollywood can do away with the list and ignore the order.

Hardly a vote of confidence in the new censor.

 

 Update: Bountiful Protest...

India's film censors protest against their tyrant boss


Link Here 13th March 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
CBFC logoMembers of India's Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) are protesting against its loony chairman Pahlaj Nihalani's dictatorial ways, accusing him of of being a tyrant for not just reviewing films himself but also ordering cuss words to be removed despite a board resolution putting the order to ban 28 cuss words on hold.

CBFC members Ashoke Pandit, Mihir Bhuta and Nandini Sardesai have reportedly accused Nihalini of making the censor board redundant by deliberately turning a deaf ear to board recommendations or suggestions.

Board member Chandraprakash Dwivedi expressed disappointment over cuts made in Anushka Sharma's film NH10 despite a collective decision to put on hold a circular banning cuss words.

Expressing anguish that collective decisions were being ignored, Dwivedi, a prominent filmmaker, sought an urgent meeting of the board in his letter to CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihlani to address uncomfortable issues . Dwivedi said that he was in receipt of the list of cuss words asked to be deleted by board to the producers of NH 10. Recalling an earlier meeting of the board, Dwivedi said, it was resolved that the circular issued by chairman or the office of the CBFC, banning certain words, will not be implemented till there is a detailed discussion.

Meanwhile, CBFC member Ashoke Pandit in a Facebook post wrote:

From the day this man (Nihalini) has taken the reins of the board, the CBFC is resembling like a wild horse gone amok. His ridiculous diktats and autocratic functioning has made CBFC a laughing stock not only amongst the film makers but also the cinema viewing audience. Nihalani's diktats are supported neither by logic nor law, nor does he appreciate the intelligence of the film-maker and the audience. He literally functions like an archaic monarch treating CBFC and its office like his own fiefdom.

 

 Update: Censorship Gets Hard in India...

Hollywood is giving up trying to get R rated films past the new loony censor


Link Here 15th March 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
get hardGet Hard is a 2015 USA comedy by Etan Cohen.
Starring Alison Brie, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Youtube link IMDb

When millionaire James King is nailed for fraud and bound for San Quentin, he turns to Darnell Lewis to prep him to go behind bars.

MPAA Rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug material.

The Indian censor board has created a regressive environment, says studio executive, citing the example of the censorship of Fifty Shades of Grey .

Wary of a series of recent decisions by the Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) to impose cuts and restrictions on movies scheduled for release, Warner Bros. has resolved against showing their upcoming film Get Hard in Indian theatres. The Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart starrer was to open in India on March 27.

It is learnt that the call to not release the adult comedy was taken jointly by Warner Bros. offices in the US and India. A source told Mirror:

Another studio deleted 20 minutes of content before screening its film for the Examining Committee and was still refused certification. In these times of aggressive censorship unless you truncate your product to an extent that it doesn't resemble the original anymore, you can't get it passed here.

Focus Blu ray Digital UltraViolet Combo Earlier, the Will Smith comedy, Focus , which opens this Friday, was banned by the CBFC's Examining Committee (EC). The dark romcom was eventually passed by the Revising Committee (RC) after 14 cuts.

They even objected to the word 'boob', said the source, pointing out that this kind of regressive environment is not conducive to adult comedies whose funny lines will be punctuated by 'over 100-odd beeps'.

It also is reported that the current censorship policy means that the distributors feel that there is little point pursing an appeal of the recently banned 50 Shades of Grey.

 

 Update: Bollywood Mutiny...

Dissident censors to review all the decisions of their loony boss


Link Here 26th May 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything

textures of lossDissident censor board members plan to review all the cuts made to the 30-odd Bollywood films certified since January, alleging inconsistencies on the part of the loony new chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani whom they accuse of being a dictator.

About half the 21 members of the Central Board of Film Certification support the move and are preparing for a stormy board meeting on June 9, where they will demand the review. Senior board member Ashoke Pandit explained to The Telegraph:

We want to compare which scenes and words were cut from which film and who headed the committees (that forced the deletions). Nihalani is running a one-man show, certifying films directly or through his chosen people. We too should know what is happening.

Another member, Nandini Sardesai, said Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet was cleared with various cuss words the likes of which were removed from other films. She said:

Bombay Velvet came to a revising committee after the producers challenged the 'A' certificate recommended by the examining committee. The chairman himself headed the (revising) panel and awarded a 'U/A'. I'm surprised how he allowed so many abuses in the film while regularly beeping out cuss words from other films, including NH 10 .

Meanwhile Delhi's High Court has directed the censor board to allow a documentary on Kashmir's violence-affected people to be screened without cuts. The censors had suggested cuts to Textures of Loss and ordered the insertion of a disclaimer, a decision upheld by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. Both described certain scenes in the film as powder kegs that could lead to violence.

The high court said the threat of violence cannot overrule constitutional rights, and only gross violation of the Cinematograph Act could ground a film.

 

 Update: Swearing support for Indian film...

Film censors vote to end a ban on strong language in all films


Link Here 1st August 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
CBFC logoIndia's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has withdrawn its controversial list of swear words after a majority of members voted against the list at a meeting on Friday.

It was in February this year when the crazed chairman Pahlaj Nihalani issued a list of swear words to all regional officers in the certification body and directed that films with innuendo, profanities, those glorifying bloodshed or violence against women would not get certification.

The decision did initiate uproar by the film-makers and even the board members against CBFC chairman for his dictatorial approach .

Reportedly, CBFC board members stated that swear words should be seen in the context of the entire film rather than in an isolated manner and the decision be left to the examining committee.

Whilst the list was in operation many films like Highway, NH10 and many others suffered cuts because of the list.

However, in a meeting held on Friday, 12 out of 15 members of the CBFC stood in favour of withdrawing the list. Reportedly, the members also insisted in recording the minutes of the meeting and circulating it within two weeks so as to make the decision official.

CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani refused to comment on the issue.

 

 Updated: Swearing support for Indian film...

Film censors vote to end a ban on strong language in all films


Link Here 5th August 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
CBFC logoIndia's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has withdrawn its controversial list of swear words after a majority of members voted against the list at a meeting on Friday.

It was in February this year when the crazed chairman Pahlaj Nihalani issued a list of swear words to all regional officers in the certification body and directed that films with innuendo, profanities, those glorifying bloodshed or violence against women would not get certification.

The decision did initiate uproar by the film-makers and even the board members against CBFC chairman for his dictatorial approach .

Reportedly, CBFC board members stated that swear words should be seen in the context of the entire film rather than in an isolated manner and the decision be left to the examining committee.

Whilst the list was in operation many films like Highway, NH10 and many others suffered cuts because of the list.

However, in a meeting held on Friday, 12 out of 15 members of the CBFC stood in favour of withdrawing the list. Reportedly, the members also insisted in recording the minutes of the meeting and circulating it within two weeks so as to make the decision official.

CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani refused to comment on the issue.

Update: Chief censor contradicts his team

5th August 2015. See  article from  dnaindia.com

pahlaj-nihalaniIndia's chief film censor Pahlaj Nihalani refutes reports that his infamous list of 28 banned cuss words have been withdrawn. He said in no unclear terms that the list stays put.  Nihalani calls claims to the contrary as irresponsible and damaging. He raged:

First of all, the proceedings of the Board meeting were highly confidential and not meant to be given out to the public. Censor Board members are giving out wrong information to the press.

There was no question of banning the banned words. It is not up to the Board members to make policy decisions. They can only discuss change. They cannot decide or implement changes.

 

 Updated: Too Much Bonding...

India's film censor makes several cuts to Spectre


Link Here 24th November 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
Spectre DVD Daniel Craig Its not only British audiences that are viewing a censored version of the new James Bond film Spectre, but Indian audiences will also suffer an incomplete version.

Censors at the Central Board of Film Classification have given the film a UA (children allowed if accompanied by adults) rating after 4 cuts for language and kissing:

  • Two cuts were made to shorten James Bond's kissing
  • Two cuts were made to remove the words 'fuck' and 'arsehole'. (This seems to be a false accusation as the word 'fuck' doesn't actually get used in the film).

A source said:

Both of Daniel Craig's kisses with his co-stars have been reduced by 50 per cent. The censor board had nothing against James Bond kissing ...BUT... the length of the kisses were found to be unnecessarily excessive. We heard that Ranbir Kapoor's kissing scenes in Tamasha has also been reduced by half. We wonder how the Censor Board decides how much kissing is enough.

Update: Chief censor seems to act like a megalomaniac Bond villain

20th November 2015. See  article from timesofindia.indiatimes.com

pahlaj nihalani bond villainDissent against Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani appears to be gathering strength with some members planning to make a formal representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I&B minister Arun Jaitley. Members of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) have expressed concern at Nihalani's unilateral decision making style and cavalier attitude.

Board members said that cuss words were still being arbitrarily snipped from films (despite the Board's opposition) and decisions being made on films without taking the Board in to confidence. One member explained:

There are a few of us who feel that the chairperson has been working on his own accord without listening to anyone on the Board. This is unfair. We are planning to approach the PM and the I&B minister on the issue.

Nihalani has faced social media derision after the Board ruled kissing scenes of Daniel Craig with Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux in the new James Bond release Spectre as too extensive and had them trimmed by half.

Former I&B secretary and Board member Raghu Menon in a recent letter to fellow members said that he was disturbed at being treated in a cavalier and offhand fashion by Nihalani  and the utter insensitivity and disregard of the I&B ministry. He said:

I have closely observed and have been involved in the working of the CBFC for the last 20 years in various capacities when it was headed by luminaries like Shakti Samanta, Vijay Anand, Asha Parekh, Sharmila Tagore, Leela Samson etc, but never have I seen it sink to such levels of total disregard for the Board Members. It would be better to disband the Board if it is found to be so irrelevant.

Update: Skyfall too

22nd November 2015. See article from dnaindia.com

Skyfall DVD Daniel Craig Chief Pahlaj Nihalani has been justifying his disgraceful Spectre cuts to Indian tabloids. He said that steamy scenes were also cut from the previous Bond movie Skyfall , but people made no fuss about it. So why is it an issue if the Board cut down the duration of kissing scenes in Spectre by 20 seconds, he asks.

Update: A better informed source

24th November 2015. See  article from movie-censorship.com

A better informed source reveals that the Indian film censor's dialogue cuts to Spectre were:

  • 'idiot' instead of 'asshole'
  • 'bighead and cats' instead of 'bastard and balls'.

 

 Updated: Film censor portrayed in bad light...

India's crazed censor under duress after his prolific scissorship was slapped down by the Bombay High Court


Link Here 22nd June 2016  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
udta punjabUdta Punjab is a 2016 India crime thriller by Abhishek Chaubey.
Starring Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor. BBFC link IMDb

What on earth can a rock star, a migrant laborer, a doctor and a cop possibly have in common? Simple, Punjab! 4 lives, 1 connection - 'Udta Punjab' takes you on a trip like never before. Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh play characters from different walks of life, fighting the menace of drugs in their own way. The film journeys into the artificial highs and the real lows that they face while treading the paths fraught with mortal dangers. But above all, Udta Punjab is about the famed Punjabi spirit, that despite being fully down, has the audacity of looking you in the eye and saying - Drugs di maa di!

India's crazed film censor, Pahlaj Nihalani, is under duress after his decision to make 89 puerile cuts to a film wound up the local film industry, and let to a court battle which ended up humiliating the censor.

The film, Udta Punjab , will now be released on Friday with an adults only 'A' rating and just one cut.

India's central Board of Film 'Classification' (CBFC) originally demanded 89 cuts. The film board claimed that the movie portrayed Punjab in a bad light. The proposed cuts included removing every mention of the word Punjab from the film, deleting swear words and also a number of other words such as parliament , legislators and elections .

Chief censor Nihalani saw the writing on the wall as the case proceeded to court and reduced the cuts list to 13, but this did not appease his opponents.

The court ruled that the film must be certified for release in the next 48 hours with one scene showing a character urinating to be removed.

The producers of the film described the ruling as a victory for democracy. The films makers challenged the censors claim that the film promoted illegal drug use and questioned the integrity of India. The court rejected the censors claims and said:

We have read the script in its entirety to see if the film encourages drugs. We do not find that the film questions the sovereignty or integrity of India by mentioning the names of cities, or referring to a state or by a signpost, the judge said.

Responding to the judgement Nihalani rued that from now on, CBFC was meaningless. He said doors for films with obscene, vulgar content are open now and questions have been raised on the working of the censor board. He said:

pahlaj-nihalaniIt is undoubtedly a good judgement for the producers. I have been a producer too, so I am glad everyone is relieved today. But the CBFC has lost its meaning today. As the chairman of the CBFC, I have come to know that the board is not here to censor movies . I just want to point out that when the name of the board was changed from 'censor' to 'certification', the 1952 cinematograph Act that it follows, and its rule book were not changed.

We were just following those, and doing our job and was only implementing the act that was framed for CBFC to function with full honesty. I had put in place a proper system. We were doing what was expected of us -- to ensure films are free of content that is unnecessarily abusive and defamatory. But from today, the producers are free to produce anything they want.

They will now have the liberty to have obscenity, vulgarity in their movies. It is an open world for them as anything and everything they make will be cleared with an A certificate.

The board has the option of appealing against the verdict in the Supreme Court.

Update: Film Certificate notes that the film was passed by the Mumbai High Court

16th June 2016. See  article from indianexpress.com

cbfc certificate for urda punjabThe India film censors of the CBFC have made a bit of censorship history by naming the judges as the presiding film censors responsible for the decision.

The certificate states: Passed by Hon'ble High Court, Mumbai. Share This Article Share Related Article

Mumbai Regional Officer Raju Vaidya, who has signed the certificate, said it was prepared as per norms. This is the norm; the name of whoever has cleared the film is on the certificate, he told The Indian Express .

However, a CBFC employee, who did not want to be named, said till date a film's certificate has never had to bear the name of judicial officers. It will carry names of the committee members present at the screening. And in this case, the judges anyway didn't watch the film. Other films rated after judicial intervention have not mentioned judges or the court on certificates.

Update: The BBFC take on the film

16th June 2016. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC have rated the film 15 uncut for strong language, violence, threat, drug misuse, drug references

Update: Pakistan too

20th June 2016.  See  article from hindustantimes.com

Pakistan flagAfter a trouble censorship process in India, it's now time for Udta Punjab to strugglewith Pakistan's film censors.

According to Fakhr-Alam, chairman of Censor Board Sindh, the film has been viewed by the Board and they have asked the distributor to make changes:

We have told the distributor to delete the bad language, swear words, which are extremely explicit and in direct conflict with the law and censor code. We will [then] review to see that the compliance has been adhered to and then issue a certificate.

Update: 100 cuts

20th June 2016. See  article from dnaindia.com

The Pakistani censor board has given a green signal to the release of Indian movie Udta Punjab in Pakistan after suggesting more than 100 cuts to remove objectionable and anti-Pakistan content from the film.

Update: Mohalla Assi banned too

25th June 2016. See article from indianexpress.com

mohalla assiThe censor board has banned it's own board member Dr. Chandraprakash Diwedi's highly controversial film Mohalla Assi , which pokes fun at the commercialisation of the holy city of Varanasi.

The entire film, which features some of the most risque lines heard in films in recent times, was also leaked on the Internet before its submission. The censor board decided to ban it completely. Apparently, the film evoked extreme reactions from some of the members within the censor board.

The story, based on the well-known novel by Hindi writer Kashinath Singh is a scathing critique on the changes that have come upon the holy town of Varanasi.

 

 Update: Holy Cow Batman!...

Crazed Indian film censor bans the use of the word 'cow'


Link Here 16th July 2017  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity India's film censors have ordered that a documentary about the economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen be altered to remove words including 'Hindu' 'India' and 'cow', the director has said.

Suman Ghosh said he was told by censor board officials that his one-hour documentary about Sen, a Harvard professor and essayist, could be released only if certain words were bleeped out. Those words reportedly included cow, Hindu India, Hindutva, a reference to the religious nationalist ideology of India's ruling party, and Gujarat, the home state of the country's prime minister, Narendra Modi .

I was quite shaken, Ghosh said of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) decision, against which he said he would be appealing. I was shocked but I thought, I have to argue.

In the documentary, named after his book of essays The Argumentative Indian, Sen criticises what he sees as the restricted vision of India espoused by Modi's rightwing nationalist party.  In one reportedly censored scene, Sen lauds the value of vigorous argument and debate, in contrast to chastising people for having mistreated a cow or some such thing.

 


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