The Bombay High Court's verdict on 'Udta Punjab' will open the door for films with obscene and vulgar content, said embattled Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani. Nihalani, in the centre of a raging debate over curbs on creative freedom of filmmakers, said on Tuesday he was only following the rule book as part of a film certification board that has lost much of its bite.
"It is not about anyone's win or loss. I was doing my job and following the guidelines," Nihalani, who heads the film certification body that suggested 89 cuts to the film portraying Punjab's drugs menace, said.
In comments published in the Economic Times, the censor board chief also said that producers will now "start approaching the court for every single cut suggested by the CBFC."
"I welcome the court's decision, will abide by it. Every producer has right to approach court," he said.
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A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court, led by Justice SC Dharamadhikari, cleared Abhishek Chaubey's 'Udta Punjab' yesterday with just one cut -- a shot of Shahid Kapoor’s character, a rockstar named Tommy Singh, urinating in front of an audience.
The court also ordered the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to issue a fresh certificate to the producers within 48 hours. The Censor Board's Revising Committee (RC) had asked for as many as 89 cuts.
The court also ordered the producers to put in place disclaimers that will say that the makers do not promote the use of drugs, use of expletives and cuss words and neither is it made with the intention to malign a particular state.
Nihalani, who until recently flippantly stated in interviews that he's a 'chamcha' (sycophant), of Narendra Modi, seems now on the back foot. "The CBFC has lost its meaning today. As the chairman of the CBFC, I have come to know that the board is not here to censor movies. I just want to point out that when the name of the board was changed from 'censor' to 'certification', the 1952 cinematograph Act that it follows, and its rule book were not changed," he told ET.