New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on Monday re-constituted the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), drawing nearly half the new team from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The government appointed Hindi film producer Pahlaj Nihalani, who created the “Har ghar Modi" video nine months ago, as chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for a period of three years.

The appointment, effective 19 January, was announced in a statement by the information and broadcasting ministry.

The BJP members part of the CBFC include Tamil and Telugu movie actress Jeevitha; Bengali and Assamese film actor George Baker, who contested as a BJP candidate in the Lok Sabha election from Howrah constituency from West Bengal last year; Tamil actor S. Ve Shekar and actress Vani Tripathi Tickoo, a former national secretary of the BJP, and Ramesh Patange, a Dalit writer close to the RSS.

“It is expected that these decisions will not be politically motivated but the track records of all successive governments shows that they have appointed people known to them. This is not a healthy trend and governments should ideally not appoint their own people," said A.K. Verma, a Kanpur-based political analyst.

Other members on the board are writer Mihir Bhuta, professor Syed Abdul Bari, actor Chandra Prakash Dwiwedi and filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit.

“If the Congress is going to fill the Censor board with all Congress cronies, what do you expect the BJP to do? Members like Vani Tripathi and Dwivedi on the board is a good change as they are serious intellectuals," said Prahlad Kakkar, a veteran ad filmmaker.

The new appointments come in the wake of censor board chief Leela Samson’s exit; she resigned last week amid a controversy surrounding the clearance by a tribunal of the film Messenger of God featuring Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, chief of the sect Dera Sacha Sauda.

The CBFC denied the movie a censor certificate.

Nine other members of the board also resigned after Samson quit.

Close