When Pahlaj Nihalani Complained About 'Senseless' Censorship

20 years ago, the current Censor Board chief had the same issues with the CBFC that filmmakers have with him today.

08/08/2016 6:10 PM IST | Updated 08/08/2016 8:13 PM IST
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MUMBAI, INDIA - MARCH 01: Pahlaj Nihalani during Hum Log Awards 2011 in Mumbai. (Photo by Yogen Shah/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Irony has shot itself in the foot and is bleeding profusely — with not an ambulance within earshot.

Pahlaj Nihalani, chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification, has spent the last 20 months striking terror into the hearts of filmmakers with his rigid interpretation of the rules that govern the body. This has led to one of the most controversial reigns any CBFC chief has ever had, with the chairman allegedly abusing his position to propagate his own brand of morality upon the stories being told by a new generation of filmmakers.

As it turns out, Nihalani was at the receiving end of such treatment himself, back in the '90s, when he was a producer. In a snapshot of an old newspaper article that has surfaced on Twitter, the 'sanskaari Censor Board chief' was quoted as complaining about "senseless" censorship and archaic, out-of-touch CBFC members.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a snapshot, here's Pahlaj's jolt back to reality.

Abhishek Bhalerao/Twitter

The film in question is Lawrence D'Souza's Dil Tera Diwana (1996), starring Saif Ali Khan and Twinkle Khanna, which released exactly 20 years ago (nearly to the day), which faced six visual cuts. The offending portion was a song that featured "vulgar" dance moves, which included pelvic thrusts.

Nihalani disagreed, alleging that the Board was biased against him as they'd passed "rapid pelvic gyrations" in a song from another film at the time. He also, quite rightly, objected to the Board's objection to the cycling shorts Khanna was wearing under her skirt. "The censors seemed to mistake the shorts for underwear," he (presumably) thundered. "Are they living in the 18th century?"

Oh, how the tables have turned. Two decades on, it is now Nihalani who is at the receiving end of such rhetoric.

Anurag Kashyap, who led the anti-censorship battle for Abhishek Chaubey's recent Udta Punjab, couldn't resist retweeting this gem on Twitter as well as Facebook, after a Twitter user with the handle @attaboy1990 tagged him in a tweet.

"Look what I found...Blast from the past.." wrote the filmmaker on Facebook.

Also see on HuffPost:

6 Times Anushka Sharma Nailed It While Speaking About Censorship

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