Pahlaj Nihalani grabbed many a headline for trimming films during his tenure as CBFC chief. After more than two years of being a protector of Indian culture (literally tagging himself as “sanskari”) by banning films after films as he didn’t deem them ‘suitable’ for viewing by the Indian audience, Nihalani was sacked last month from his position as the chairperson of Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
During his tenure, the conservative, orthodox man had problems with the word ‘intercourse’, kissing scenes, cuss words, relevant problems of a state (case in point, Udta Punjab) and everything that even hinted at being too “bold” for his comfort.
But today, going back to his roots, Nihalani has become a Bollywood distributor, on a film, which is “bold” but perhaps within his comfort zone. He is presenting Julie 2, the sequel to Neha Dhupia-starrer “Julie” (2004).
The trailer of the film which was launched, shows that it is the story is about a girl, who faces casting couch in the film industry. The trailer has a character saying “Yahan pe bas body chalti hai, garam garam body.” But Nihalani, who wanted the makers of Jab Harry Met Sejal to remove the word ‘intercourse’ from its trailer, seems to be perfectly fine with Julie 2 trailer.
Nihalani attended the trailer launch of the movie – his first public event after being replaced by Prasoon Joshi – and was bombarded with questions about his decision to back a film like “Julie 2”, a genre he has vehemently objected to in the past.
Asked how many cuts he would’ve given to the film if he had been in his old job, Nihalani told reporters, “It’s not my job anymore. Let the designated person decide how many cuts it should have or not. It is a very clean, adult movie.“If I was there, I would not have given it any cut and given an ‘A’ certificate. It doesn’t have obscenity or any cuss words. It’s a complete, adult, family film.” Asked if he was no longer “sanskaari” for distributing a film like “Julie 2” he said, “This is my business. This is an adult film and I am asking for an ‘A’ certificate only, not for ‘U’ or ‘U/A’.
“I am ‘sanskaari’, it’s in our mitti. India is a place where nothing is bigger than ‘sanskaar’. I was, am and will be this (sanskaari).”
“The role that government gave me, I did it with full honesty. Now I am back to my industry and I’ll see to it that I give it back to the industry with absolute honesty,” he further said.
Nihalani also asked the media to not judge the film by its trailer, and see the movie to pass a judgment on its quality. That’s another thing that there were umpteen examples to show that Nihalani raised issues with teasers and trailers of a lot of films, calling them “unsuitable for viewing.”
Julie 2, a sequel to the film Julie that starred Neha Dhupia as a prostitute, will be South actress Raai Laxmi’s Bollywood debut.