Pahlaj Nihalani isn't going away without a fight Image: IANS
Seems like Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) ex-chief Pahlaj Nihalani isn't going down without a fight. Days after he was sacked, Pahlaj is back with a series of allegations, the most sensational of them being the one against recently-appointed Information & Broadcasting (I&B) minister Smriti Irani. Pahlaj also trained his guns on filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Kabir Khan in an interview to YouTube channel Lehren TV.
Mincing no words, Pahlaj blamed Smriti for his ouster saying she has thrown her weight around whichever ministry she has been a part of. "“Indu Sarkar was the main issue... Smriti Irani is always an issue… Whichever ministry she has been a part of, she has made her presence felt," he said.
He said Smriti had questioned his decision to not clear Madhur Bhandarkar's Indu Sarkar without cuts and that became the bone of contention between the two. “She told me, why are you not clearing Indu Sarkar without cuts? I said, I will go with the procedure. She wanted to show her presence in the I&B ministry and who bigger a target than me? She is a powerful minister wherever she goes," Pahlaj said.
Pahlaj also went all guns blazing at the Hindi film industry itself, saying he had many 'enemies' within Bollywood who had ganged up against him ever since he asssumed the post of CBFC chief. He also claimed, contrary to common perception regarding him, he did clear certain films despite pressure from the central government, including Kabir Khan's 2015 film Bajrangi Bhaijaan, starring Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
In the interview, Pahlaj claimed that he received a call from the home ministry not to release the film on Eid because of its title, saying that the ministry had the misconception that the film was the story of a relationship between a Hindu man and a Muslim woman. “I wrote three letters to the ministry asking them to see the picture according to the guidelines,” Nihalani said, adding, “I have gone out of my way… then too I have been made a villain.”
He also attacked the film's director calling him a "useless fellow" and 'unprofessional'.“Without any reason and despite not facing problems, he has spoken against me," he said.
Pahlaj denied rumours that the producer of Lipstick Under My Burkha, Ekta Kapoor, who incidentally is good friends with Smriti, had anything to do with his exit.
The director of Dev D, Gangs of Wasseypur was the next in Pahlaj's line of fire. He claimed that Anurag deliberately created controversies around his low-budget movies in order to gain from the publicity. “He used the censor board to market the films that he knew would not run," Pahlaj alleged.
Sanskaari Pahlaj, as he is often referred to, signed off saying that he has been relieved of the "crown of thorns" and extended his wishes to his successor Prasoon Joshi. “Prasoon Joshi is a very nice man, he will have to reap the fruit of my sins and good deeds," he said.