'The makers of The Accidental Prime Minister will have to get an NOC from Manmohan Singhji, Sonia Gandhiji and all the politicians who are part of the narrative,' Censor Board boss Pahlaj Nihalani tells Subhash K Jha.
On Wednesday, June 7, morning, the world woke up to the announcement that Anupam Kher would play Dr Manmohan Singh in a film based on Sanjaya Baru's best-seller The Accidental Prime Minister.
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Censor Board boss Pahlaj Nihalani says he is very happy for Kher.
Says Nihalani, "He's such a versatile actor. At the age of 28 he played an old man so brilliantly in Saaraansh."
"I am sure he will do full justice to Manmohan Singhji's character, though it would have to be more expressions than words," Nihalani added.
"As we all know, Manmohan Singhji hardly speaks. I am sure the dialogue writer would not have much to contribute to the character," Nihalani quipped about the former prime minister/
But Nihalani warned that the film's producers would have to abide by the Censor Board guidelines on films based on real-life characters.
"The makers of The Accidental Prime Minister -- Producer Sunil Bohra, etc -- would have to get an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from Manmohan Singhji, Sonia Gandhiji and all the other real-life politicians who are part of the narrative," Nihalani said.
"This rule applies without fail. There are no exceptions. And although my current tenure as the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) chairperson ends in January 2018 and this film will come up for censorship after that, I am sure the guidelines regarding biopics would remain unchanged."
We wonder if the film's team is aware of this.
"I am sure they are," says Nihalani. "Anupam Kher was himself the CBFC chairperson not too long ago. Ashoke Pandit, who considers himself a part of the CBFC, is also a part of the film on Manmohan Singhji."
"And Hansal Mehta, who is writing the film, claims to be a victim of the censorship guidelines every time his film is to release."
"I can't imagine how these people cannot be aware of the NOC required for censor clearance of films based on real-life figures," Nihalani added.
Getting NOCs from all the politicians who feature in Sanjaya Baru's book? Fat chance we say of that happening!