Former CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani who is known for his controversial views about movies has jumped into the Padmavati controversy by saying that the responsibility of approving a movie is of the board and not of the public or government. Nihalani during a conversation with CNN-News 18 said that during his tenure no film – small or big, was delayed. Nihalani said that all the movies are important for CBFC and if he would have been the chief of CBFC, even Padmavati release date would not have been delayed. The statement comes only a couple of days after makers of Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed Padmavati decided to delay the release of the movie voluntarily.
Nihalani said that even though the board is free to take the help of experts, the final decision should be taken by the panel members who have been nominated by the government. He added that delaying the decision is like shying away from your job. “There is no if and but, approving the film is the responsibility of the censor board, not public or the government,” he said while adding, “I have never done something like this in my tenure. I have never delayed a film. Small or big, all films are important to the CBFC.”
Nihalani gave the example of a star-studded movie Chittoor Rani Padmini featuring Sivaji Ganesan and Vyjayanthimala in the lead roles which released in 1963. He said that no objection was raised against the Tamil film that narrated a familiar story of the queen and the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji’s wild infatuation for her.
Earlier in the day, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that a call on allowing the screening of film ‘Padmavati’ in the state will be taken only after a decision of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). He also distanced himself from the recent objectionable remarks made by Haryana BJP leader Surajpal Singh Amu, who had reportedly offered a bounty of Rs 10 crore to anyone be heading the film’s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali or lead actor Deepika Padukone.
“The government will take a call upon the screening of Padmavati after the decision by CBFC,” Khattar said. He, however, made it clear that nobody would be allowed to hurt the sentiments of people belonging to a particular community.