'We've no objections to women wearing lipstick under a burqa. But the film shows these women doing unmentionable things,' Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani tells Subhash K Jha.
The chairperson of the Censor Board Of Film Certification is very angry about the controversy over the denial of a censor certificate to director Alankrita Shrivastava's Lipstick Under My Burqa.
Says Pahlaj Nihalani, "First of all, we didn't ban Lipstick Under My Burqa. The examining committee saw the film and refused to certify it. Now the revising committee has also refused to certify the film."
"Prakash Jha, the film's producer, says he will go to the tribunal of the censor board," Nihalani added. "He knows the procedure. He has been through it with many of his films including his last, Jai Gangaajal. So what's the fuss about?"
The censor chief is livid at the way the film's team and its supporters have gone to town over the censor's refusal.
"Why are they pinning the blame for the examining committee and revising committee's refusal on me?" he asks.
"There are two bodies of well-informed jury members on the two committees. They have all found the content of Lipstick Under My Burqa to be extremely objectionable," Nihalani says.
He wonders on what grounds the film's supporters have come forward to champion its cause. "Have Sudhir Mishra, Farhan Akhtar and Kabir Khan seen Lipstick Under My Burqa? How can they jump into the controversy just because it is fashionable to support any film that talks about women's empowerment?" he asks.
"How genuine is this film's feminism? Have its supporters seen the film? They attack me calling me a maker of 'B' grade films and listing vulgar songs that I've used in my films. But those songs are not even in my film," says Nihalani.
"As for making 'B' grade films, why only 'B' grade? I may have made 'C' grade and 'Z' grade films too. That doesn't give me the right to certify objectionable content in my capacity as the chairperson of the CBFC."
"I may have made films that I might have cut if they came to me during my tenure as CBFC chief," he adds.
Nihalani finds it strange that the very filmmakers whose movies he helped get censor clearances are making a hue and cry against him.
"I've gone out of my way to get Farhan Akhtar's Rock On 2 and Kabir Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan out of censorial blockades. On what grounds are Farhan and Kabir tweeting and talking against me? They are fighting a cause they have no idea of."
"Please do not attack the CBFC and me just because it is considered trendy to do so."
"One news channel thinks shouting, encouraging noise pollution and lashing out at me will raise their TRPs. God bless them," says Nihalani, adding, "But they need to do their homework. They were shouting about how the CBFC has objections to the word 'burqa' in the title Lipstick Under My Burqa. This is completely wrong."
"We never expressed any reservations about the title. We've no objections to women wearing lipstick under a burqa. But the film shows these women doing unmentionable things."
"If some sections think this is progressive behaviour, gender equality and women's empowerment, then I pity the generations to come."