Livid , Pahlaj Nihalani lashes out at ‘publicity-seeker’ Manoj Bajpai and all his detractors who are waiting to see his ouster as CBFC chief.
One of India’s finest actors Manoj Bajpai has spoken up against you. He thinks you are a spent force, that you should retire and that your days as the CBFC chairperson are numbered?
Really? Bajpai Saab feels so strongly about me? He is such a busy actor. And he still has time to study my career graph. I am deeply moved. But if I am a spent force and I need to retire , then it means I’ve been working all these years. Nearly 45 years as a producer and filmmaker. I am still waiting for Manoj Bajpai’s career to start.
What do you mean? He has done so many acclaimed films?
Acclaimed, yes. But by whom? The film industry? There’s a group of filmmakers in Mumbai comprising self-styled geniuses like Hansal Mehta, Tigmanshu Dhulia and above all,Anurag Kashyap who make films that are praised to the skies by their colleagues and a handful of learned critics. However the theatres showing their films open empty and close empty.Are you aware of how much money Anurag Kashyap has lost to his producers?
No , you tell me?
Close to 300 crore rupees have been lost through his flop pictures like Ugly, Bombay Velvet and Raghav Raman. He still continues to make films!
We were talking about Manoj Bajpai . You said his career has not even started?
Apart from Satya which was very good film, Manoj has not featured in any hits in the 10-12 years of his career. Who is he to talk about my career? He should worry about his own.Manoj is talking about the CBFC to promote his new film. This is his desperate method of getting media space.
Manoj also says the CBFC has always been a problem to the our films?
What problems has the CBFC created for the great Manoj Bajpai? His last release Aligarh got a clearance out of turn because his director and supporters pushed the film as a masterpiece. But we realize it’s a mistake to treat films differently on the basis of the film industry’s perception or the filmmaker’s track record. Because if we allow guidelines to be flaunted by Aligarh or Udta Punjab we have to do the same for Mastizaade and Great GrandMasti.
How could the CBFC pass the filth in Great Grand Masti?
We did not. The CBFC refused certification to this films.We found the content extremely vulgar. So they took the film to the Tribunal which restored all the cuts and asked them to make voluntary cuts .The producers made a few token cuts and got their film cleared. That’s how the film was passed.
Freedom of expression cannot be equated with the freedom to spread filth?
Who are we to decide what is filth and what is art? The power to decide now lies with the Tribunal and the honourable courts. The CBFC is reduced to a state of redundancy.
A lot of your detractors think your tenure as CBFC is over?
I am here as long as the Government wants me. The day they ask me to step down I’d do so happily. Until then my detractors are welcome to fantasize.