Film certification in India has become film censorship. Democratic discourse has dissolved into saffron propaganda. The former CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) has resigned en masse protesting the BJP government’s interference in film certification. And the saffron party was quick to appoint Pahlaj Nihlani, who made a six-minute promo video for Narendra Modi’s election campaign has been appointed CBFC chief! What more do you expect!?
NEW DELHI: Days after it accused UPA of politicizing the Censor Board, the BJP-ruled government chose to follow its predecessor and pack the panel with those who have links with the saffron party. Among those appointed on the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) include an RSS ideologue, a BJP general secretary, the BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Howrah and a playwright who has scripted a movie on PM Narendra Modi.
The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry on Monday announced the appointment of Bollywood producer Pahlaj Nihalani as CBFC chief to replace Leela Samson who resigned accusing the ministry of “interference, coercion and corruption”. Samson’s resignation was followed by that of 13 other board members. Besides producing films like ‘Ankhen’ and ‘Shola Aur Shabnam’ in the early 1990s, Nihalani had recently made a six-minute campaign video for Modi titled ‘Har Ghar Modi’.
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Leela Samson quits as CBFC chief
Those who are part of the new Censor Board include RSS ideologue and editor of Marathi weekly ‘Vivek’, Ramesh Patange. Patange has also edited a book on former PM A B Vajpayee — ‘Atalji: The Pathfinder’. BJP general secretary Vani Tripathi, TV producer Ashok Pandit, producer and actor mainly in Tamil and Telugu films Jeevitha and Tamil playwright S Ve Shekhar are also among the new board members.
Censor Board controversies
Dr Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, who wrote TV serial ‘Chanakya’ and film on India’s partition ‘Pinjar’, Assamese actor and party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Howrah George Baker and vice chancellor to the Central University of Gujarat Prof Syed Abdul Bari have also been picked for the prestigious panel. The list of nine new members also has film scriptwriter Mihir Bhuta, whose latest work includes a script on Modi directed by an NRI.
The appointments come after a war of words between the previous board and the government. Resigning en masse, nine board members had accused the government of appointing people of questionable credibility to examine films and of starving the board of funds. I&B minister Arun Jaitley responded by describing the members as “rebels without a cause” who had politicized routine matters.