Just doing our job, says Pahlaj Nihalani on Amartya Sen documentary row
Mumbai: Under attack from all quarters for bleeping certain phrases in a documentary on eminent economist Amartya Sen, censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani on Thursday said the board was just doing its job.
The chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) told a TV channel that if the makers have any grievance regarding the orders, they are free to appeal to the higher authorities such as FCAT (Film Certification Appellate Tribunal). “This is our job... Whatever the director or producer is saying, ask him to go to the tribunal or the advisory committee,” Nihalani said. Infamous for its regressive attitude, the CBFC ordered director Suman Ghosh to bleep phrases such as “cow”, “Hindu India”, “Hindutva view of India” and “Gujarat” from the documentary, The Argumentative Indian. Ghosh has refused to adhere to the cuts suggested by the board, saying he would be unable to do that. Sen, on his part, has declined to be drawn into a discussion on the issue. “It is a documentary film on me. I have not made it. I have nothing to say on it. You ask Suman Ghosh about it,” he said, adding, “If the authorities have any objection, they can discuss it.”
Rajinder Sachar, former president of People Union For Civil Liberties has slammed the board, calling it “ignoramus and constitutionally impermissible”. “Disgrace abounding, ignoramus and constitutionally impermissible is the instant reaction to the totally unacceptable suggestion of the CBFC. This action has made a laughing stock of India’s claimed open society,” the statement read. Also, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh supported the censor board’s decision and said being a Nobel laureate doesn’t give “anybody the licence to say whatever he wants”.
Annoyed by the CBFC’s recent commands, actor Kabir Bedi took to Twitter where he wrote that the authority is maligning India’s reputation in the world by issuing such diktats. “Censor Board has no idea how much it is damaging India’s image with their stupid demands. Pahlaj Nihalani is a disaster. @PMOIndia,” wrote Bedi.