'Everybody knows about Prasoon Joshi's friendship with Aamir Khan.'
'No one is surprised that Thugs Of Hindostan was given censor certification out of turn.'
Former Central Board Of Film Certification chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani's film Rangeela Raja, starring Govinda in a double role, has been ordered to make multiple cuts.
It has resulted in a raging war between Nihalani and the CBFC, with the producer now approaching the Bombay high court.
"I had no choice," Nihalani confirms to Subhash K Jha. "With the number of cuts ordered by the CBFC -- and that too of harmless footage and dialogues -- and with my release on November 16 around the corner, I had no choice but to go to court."
Nihalani says he was advised to go to the CBFC's revising committee, but he chose not to.
"The revising committee's decisions are monitored the CBFC chairperson -- I should know because I have been there. But the current chairperson is out of the country. This, I believe, is often the case. In his absence, decisions are taken by his subordinates. This is completely against the guidelines," alleges Nihalani.
"Going to court was my best option. The honourable court has earlier done what had to be done to Udta Punjab. I am sure my film will also get justice," he says.
"This is nothing but personal vendetta," Nihalani alleges. "When I was the chairperson, I left a lot of people angry. Now when my film has been submitted for censoring, they are taking out their frustrations. But I won't go down without a fight."
"Everybody knows about Prasoon Joshi's friendship with Aamir Khan. No one is surprised that Thugs Of Hindostan was given censor certification out of turn," Nihalani alleges, "while my film Rangeela Raja -- which was submitted well in time, 60 days ahead of the release -- has been slapped with multiple cuts."
Nihalani claims a new impromptu rule has been added to the censor guidelines to please influential producers and give them undue priority for censoring.
"A producer can now submit an affidavit where he takes an undertaking that he needs a censor certificate in a hurry, breaking the 60-day rule," he says.
Nihalani declares this new rule bogus.
"How can the CBFC follow up whether a film actually releases on the day given on the affidavit? This is done only to accommodate handpicked producers whereas I am being harassed because I have a history with the CBFC."
Nihalani says the cuts ordered in his film are absurd.
"There is no vulgarity, no double-meaning dialogues. Still, I have been asked to delete a massive number of dialogues and scenes," he says.
"In one sequence, my heroine asks my hero what he'd like as guru dakshina. He says Eklavya cut his thumb and gave it to his guru, to which she tells the hero he can cut her lips. There is no kiss. Only the suggestion of a kiss. Still, I have been asked to cut out this harmless playful scene. Why?"
"Movies like Anurag Kashyap's Manmarziyan are filled with kissing and lovemaking scenes and yet, passed with a 'UA'," fumes Nihalani.
"Prasoon Joshi cannot bully me into cutting harmless scenes just because I was once in his chair and favouring no one. I am going to court to fight this out. I will see Mr Joshi in court."