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Rangeela Raja: Nihalani Calls Govinda's Performance 'Award-Winning' In Film Inspired By Mallya's Lifestyle

After his notorious stint at the Censor Board, Pahlaj Nihalani is back to making films.

Shrishti Negi |

Updated:June 4, 2018, 4:22 PM IST
Sacked CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani can be easily called controversy's favourite child. In his two-year tenure (2015-17), he instructed several filmmakers over what they could show on the big screen. Udta Punjab and Lipstick Under My Burkha were two of the major films that caught his censoring fancy during his tenure.

Producer of multiple films, Nihalani, who believes that he knows the nuances of both filmmaking and self-censorship, still maintains that he did the right thing by denying certification to Alankrita Shrivastava's directorial.

"It was for a limited audience, and not meant for the masses. You have to make a film for family. Lipstick Under My Burkha was good for a limited audience. It was a blue film," says Nihalani.

Nihalani had rejected certification to Lipstick Under My Burkha on the grounds that the story of the movie was "lady-oriented".

After his notorious stint at the Censor Board, he is back to making films. Nihalani is giving big screen treatment to the life of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, for which he is reuniting with actor Govinda after a long gap. Titled Rangeela Raja, the film will have Govinda portraying the disgrace liquor baron.

“The film is inspired by Vijay Mallya’s lifestyle, the way he handled his business (including the focus on Kingfisher calendars) and how he conducted himself as a Parliamentarian. Without doubt, he is a stylish person. He might have done the fraud, but you cannot take away his style. It’s our government’s job to bring him back,” says Nihalani.


Nihalani, who has worked with Govinda in films such as Ilzaam, Shola Aur Shabnam and Aankhen, believes that the Hero No. 1 star is an epitome of what is known as a true Bollywood entertainer.

“Govinda is the right choice for today’s cinema because he can make people laugh and cry with equal aplomb. He is a complete actor in the industry who can do anything from drama, comedy to action. He can perform whatever you give him,” he says.


“I felt that his talent was being wasted. There are so many other actors like him in the industry who have not been cast in films because there are no more buyers for them. I feel that directors should cast actors on the basis of their talent and not whether they’re saleable or not,” he adds.

This is the first time in 25 years that Nihalani is joining hands with Govinda, who was last seen in Aa Gaya Hero. “Govinda’s each film has different style and ideas. In fact, in 'Rangeela Raja', he has done what no other actor in the industry has done before. It’s his award-winning performance.”

While many think roping in a Bollywood A-lister like Shah Rukh or Salman Khan is sufficient to set the cash registers ringing at the box office, Nihalani believes it is the content that draws viewers to the cinema hall.

“Even actors like Shah Rukh and Salman Khan gave flops last year and Raazi has become a super hit. Today, you can’t say that a female-oriented film won’t work. If the content is strong, the film will definitely work.”
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