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Prasoon Joshi Replaces Pahlaj Nihalani as CBFC Chief: Achhe Din Soon For Indian Film Industry?

Prasoon Joshi has been appointed with immediate effect for a period of three years.

Updated:August 12, 2017, 2:38 PM IST
Prasoon Joshi Replaces Pahlaj Nihalani as CBFC Chief: Achhe Din Soon For Indian Film Industry?
A file photo.
As soon as the reports - suggesting that there was a higher chance of CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani being fired - started doing the rounds in June, many hoped for it to come true. And the moment the government’s decision to replace Nihalani with songwriter-poet Prasoon Joshi as the censor board chief was announced on Friday evening, Twitter came alive with the latter’s win. Former colleagues, people from the film fraternity and a whole host of fans congratulated Joshi for his fantastic win, calling it a ‘fabulous progressive move’.

Officially, Nihalani’s three-year term was due to be completed in January 2018. But the government issued a notification declaring the appointment of Prasoon Joshi on Friday evening. The notification read: “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 (37 of 1952) read with rule 3 of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983, the Central Government is pleased to appoint Sh. Prasoon Joshi as Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in an honorary capacity from 11th August 2017 for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. The Notification supersedes the earlier notification F No. M-11020/1/2014-DO (FC) dated 19th January 2015.” Vidya Balan, Gautami Tadimalla, Narendra Kohli, Naresh Chandra, Neil Herbert, Vivek Agnihotri, TS Nagabharana, Ramesh Patange, Vani Tripathi, Jeevitha Rajasekhar and Mihir Bhuta among others would also be joining Joshi on the Censor Board.

But the question remains what exactly did Nihalani do in his two and a half year stint that he became the most abhorred name in the film industry? Well, his tenure was packed with controversies and he continued to shame the institution he chaired with his illogical decisions – uproar over Udta Punjab censorship and certification being the most talked about issue that became too much for Indian film fraternity to handle.

Whether it was his decision to not clear Lipstick Under My Burkha due to its feminist narrative of women talking about their own sexual identities or his recent demand to remove the word ‘intercourse’ from Jab Harry Met Sejal, he made CBFC make headlines for its orthodox approach on what the viewers should and shouldn’t view. For someone who is often mocked for his inability to view narrative in a more liberal way, was also slammed when he issued a list of cuss words that cannot be used in the films, "in any category of the certificate."

But if anybody who is familiar with the films that have been produced by Nihalani and watched videos too would agree his films defied the very laws recently stated by the CBFC. From being violent, vulgar to cheap, his videos were everything, but sanskari.

Joshi, on the other hand, who has been appointed with immediate effect for a period of three years, was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2015 for his tremendous contribution to arts, literature and advertising.

The National award winning lyricist, kicked off his career in films by penning down lyrics for Rajkumar Santoshi’s Lajja in 2001. Post that, he worked with several prominent filmmakers and music directors. Among his most popular works in Bollywood are the thought-provoking films Rang De Basanti, Bhaag Mikha Bhaag, Taare Zameen Par. He was also appointed as a jury member at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, which further explains his prowess.

While speaking to media recently, adman-lyricist Joshi said he would work towards bringing in the much-needed ‘understanding’. Keen on shouldering his responsibilities in a constructive way, Joshi said in a recent interview, "With good intent, I will try to make as much difference as I can. I think there is some sort of understanding that needs to be brought in. I have believed that right and responsibilities are better served with constructive contribution. One hopes to make a positive difference with the guidance and support of respected minds. Right now my priority will be to understand the work assigned to me."

Aren’t these words strong enough to understand this is just the beginning of a larger reform? We leave you with strong reactions from celebs and commoners that further indicate just how Joshi's appointment could signal 'acche din' for Indian film industry...

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