The controversy-ridden film Padmavati has found a new supporter in the form former CBFC Chairperson and producer Pahlaj Nihalani. He has backed director Sanjay Leela Bhansali by raising concern over the Parliamentary standing committee on Information Technology’s decision to review the film before the censor board had reviewed it. Nihalani said the move questions the authority of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
“By all means, the Parliamentary Committee has every right to question Bhansali or any other filmmaker. But only after the CBFC views and certifies the film”, he said. “By questioning him before the censor certificate, you are challenging the authority of the CBFC as the final arbitrary body to decide the fate of a film,” he added.
He further claimed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had also ‘bullied’ him during his tenure. “During my tenure, I was bullied by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry into taking decisions. “Now it’s a free-for all. Any and every governing body can question a film. Where does that leave the CBFC?” Nihalani said.
While calling Bhansali one of India’s best filmmaker, Nihalani questioned the Parliamentary Committee, “To how many committees is Bhansali answerable? And where does this end? Why is one of India’s best filmmakers being made to explain himself over and over again? And why is the CBFC not taking steps to clear the air once and for all.”Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus was scheduled to hit the theatre on December 1 but has now been moved to an indefinite date. While Bhansali has received support from various quarters, Pahlaj Nihalani claims and words would certainly add weight to the director’s argument.