Pahlaj Nihalani must step down as censor board chief: Congress

New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) Coming down heavily on censor board chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, the Congress on Thursday demanded his resignation, saying his “chamchagiri” (sycophancy) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not affect the film industry.

“If Pahlaj Nihlani wants to serve BJP as its worker, he should step down from the censor board and take the membership of BJP. He proudly says that he is ‘Modi ji ka chamcha’ but his chamchagiri should not affect the film industry that has brought laurels to the country,” senior Congress spokesperson and veteran actor Raj Babbar told reporters at the party headquarters here.

“The way Pahlaj Nihalani has chosen his words, that he is chamcha of Narendra Modi is really unfortunate,” Babbar said insisting: “The film industry that was once led by Mehboob Khan, V. Shantaram, Bimal Roy, K. Asif, B.R. Chopra, Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt, now has a censor board headed by such kind of a person who proudly says he is Modi ka chamcha.”

Babbar asserted that Narendra Modi who was elected to govern the country is busy empowering his chamchas.

“Be it the Pune film institute or Censor Board or other national institutes of significance, Modi ji has empowered his chamchas. Be it Hyderabad University’s Vice Chancellor Appa Rao, or Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts chairman Ram Bahadur Rai, it seems the Modi government has been reduced to the government of chamchas,” Babbar said.

Siding with the makers of film “Udta Punjab”, Babbar said the film industry has nothing to do with politics and a film should be treated as a film only.

“Our Vice President Rahul Gandhi had said it two years ago that if flow of drugs in the state (Punjab) is not stopped, it will ruin the youth and the state. If the filmmakers have tried to convey the same message through the film, what is the point of suppressing their voice,” asked Babbar.

“Censor board has no business to cut the scenes. Its job is limited to issuing certificates to the film,” he said.

Babbar said that as far as Punjab was concerned, “Punjabiyat does not need to defend itself as the state has sacrificed, has filled the stomach of the country and guarded its borders to prove what it is capable of”.

“If government thinks it has done enough to control the drug menace in the state, the upcoming elections will sum it up,” Babbar said.

Meanwhile, the Film Producers’ Guild of India had appealed to the central government to remove Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Nihalani as “he was only harming the industry”.

Co-producer of the film Anurag Kashyap had also approached the Bombay High Court against the censor board.



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