June 17, 2024

Pahlaj Nihalani: Credit to actor Vishal for exposing the corruption, CBFC CEO is aware of everything and he is responsible – Exclusive | Hindi Movie News



Actor Vishal kicked a hornet’s nest when he came out with allegations of corruption against the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification). He alleged that the producers had to pay Rs 6.5 lakh to representatives of the CBFC in Mumbai, to get his film ‘Mark Antony‘ certified for a theatrical release. Following these allegations, several parties and organizations came forward to condone the malpractice including India’s I&B Ministry.The CBFC too issued a statement that they would not tolerate any corruption and would take necessary action against the perpetrators.
ETimes reached out to ex-CBFC Chairman and filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani to record his views on the matter. The senior producer agreed that the CBFC does have to deal with corruption on a regular basis. He said, “From the time I entered the industry till today, except for my tenure, there has been heavy corruption. But the quantum is very small. But now what they are demanding is remarkable and I give credit to actor Vishal who has come forward to expose them and it is true that there’s corruption in CBFC. I know many producers who have paid heavy amounts in the past. I don’t know why the producers are paying the money in the first place. I think it is because the cost of production has increased and they cannot afford to cancel or delay the release.”
Nihalani was critical of the current CBFC Chairman and said, “In Prasoon Joshi’s tenure, he is enjoying the chair without attending the office and paying attention to these things. He has given power to the CEO. The CEO cannot see the movie. He can only look after the administration. I think the government has to take out the CEO’s power permanently. He/she should only be the administrator.”
He also revealed that the CBFC has 9 regional offices in India. Nihalani further explained the certification process, “The RO is the boss at the regional office, who handles the screening. The Chairman has to give the all-India online clearance himself. The person who watches the movie has to sign the documentation.”

Nihalani gave a scathing assessment of the current scenario of CBFC operations and said, “I think it is the government’s fault that the chairperson is not attending the office. If the film is big then he will call the file in the office and sign the certificate. This is not the way. I think corruption is happening under the roof and the CEO is aware of it and he is responsible for everything. Because the chairman is not attending the office, everyone is taking advantage of it.”
Nihalani did point out that the CBFC has issued a directive to producers to avoid involving agents. He explained, “They have issued a press release to the producers telling them not to come through the agent or middlemen. I had stopped allowing them. But the chairman himself has allowed them to come through the agents. During my tenure, I didn’t allow any agent. There was online transparency, which is not gone. A big movie cannot afford the delay of certification from both sides – producers and CBFC. In the international market, when you apply with your movie, they watch it the next day. Then why can’t it happen in the country where the film has been produced?”
He revealed that this week, a Gujarati movie was postponed because of delays in obtain the certificate. Nihalani added, “There are many movies that have been suspended. During Prasoon Joshi’s tenure, see how long Padmaavat was delayed. During my tenure, I didn’t allow any pictures to get delayed. People have created buzz and controversies because their movies were not in demand. The Government had appointed the Shyam Benegal Committee. What happened to that committee? The producers are paying big amounts because the tribunal is not there. They don’t have a choice. They have to depend completely on the CBFC. Their second chance is in the court. Producers are paying money to the middlemen because of that harassment.”
Nihalani added that he has informed the CBFC CEO about the rampant corruption happening within the CBFC system. He said, “Somebody has demanded 3 lakh rupees for a dubbed Kannada movie. This is not the right thing, please give them a date otherwise I will bring a protest to the CBFC. I am an industry man, not an ex-chairperson. I am from the industry and I will be for the industry only.”
Firing a final salvo at the current CBFC Chairman, Nihalani said, “On the grounds of corruption and if he doesn’t have the time, the Chairman should resign gracefully and handover the term to someone from the industry.”

‘Mark Antony’ actor Vishal levels serious allegations against CBFC


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