Pahlaj Nihalani sacked: Shyam Benegal, Madhur Bhandarkar praise Prasoon Joshi's inclusion
One of the most controversial faces of the recent times, the 27th chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani's sacking from his seat has brought a sigh of relief to many, especially folks from the film industry.
With the amount of ill repute that Nihalani had earned over these years as CBFC supremo, this move by the government did not come as a big surprise. His actions, decisions and most importantly his certain statements towards films and their scenes, without thinking about the social ramifications, brought about this fate unto him.
Films like Udta Punjab, Lipstick Under My Burkha and much recently Jab Harry Met Sejal are just some of the many films which have struggled 'a lot' under his tenure. However, with adman-lyricist-poet Prasoon Joshi taking over Nihalani's place, the film industry, in particular, feels that 'acche din aayenge'.
Veteran film-maker Shyam Benegal spoke about this change of power and particularly about Joshi. Speaking to Firstpost, he said, "I know Prasoon well. He is sensitive, he is a fine poet, not an ordinary one. He is also a film lyricist and knows the business of films fairly well. He has also headed one of the best advertising agencies in the country. I am happy that they have got someone with good credentials, I am happy with their choice but whether he will be allowed to take his decisions is a different matter altogether."
On further asking about the Shyam Benegal committee report, the auteur said, "I have nothing to say on that. It has been long enough that I sent the report (April 2016). I have been in touch with the ministry and now I will call them again on the next working day - Wednesday (16 August). Few days back when I called they were still studying the report. The report is related to the Cinematograph Act 1952 and we have asked for few amendments in the act which was initiated by the government. It has to make rounds and be presented in the Parliament. The members will discuss and debate over it and then accept or reject it."
According to a report by The Hindu, filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who has worked previously with Joshi on most of his films also sang praises of him saying that he is not only a "profound lyricist" but also a deep thinker. Director Ashoke Pandit also added to the same notion saying that Joshi "identifies with today’s filmmakers and cinema goers." He also spoke about the good hopes rising within the film industry with Joshi's inclusion and Smriti Irani sitting as I&B Head.
Madhur Bhandarkar, who had to go through a hell lot of issues regarding the release of his most-recent film, Indu Sarkar, also cheered for Joshi's inclusion and sang praises to Govt of India. He told Firstpost, "Prasoon Joshi's an advertising man, he is an evolved person and he has a different perspective, so we definitely hope for positivity. But yes, they should soon implement Shyam Benegal's recommendations for a better change. But Prasoon's, as well as certain Board members' appointment, is a welcome move by the government of India. I applaud the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Smriti Irani ji and Rajyavardhan Rathore ji."
Director Tony D'Souza speaking about Joshi said, "Prasoon Joshi is definitely a welcome change but I am biased as I know him as I have worked with him in past. I think he will do an awesome job, as he is always fair and unbiased." Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, director of Nil Battey Sannata and upcoming Bareilly Ki Barfi said, "Prasoon is a new age thinker and belongs to the younger generation and he also comes from advertising background This also means that he has already seen a lot of consumers and has studied their behavior which means that he is well aware of the nuances of story telling so yes, it's definitely a welcome change. I have also worked with him in past at McCann Erickson."
Director Sajid Khan was hopeful about Joshi's appointment, and asserted that he should be assessed solely based on his work. "Prasoon Joshi definitely looks a welcome change, but only time will tell. One really hopes that his tenure is filled with correct decisions. The only way to judge Prasoon Joshi would be based on his diktats and what theory he comes up with. He has an amazing body of work and has earned credentials over the years by his work in the film industry and the ad industry. There is definitely a certain degree of relief in the industry after he was announced as the chairperson of the Censor Board. I am really hopeful that he will have a great inning as the chairperson of the Censor Board and will bring smile on faces of filmmakers," he said.
Rajdeep Sardesai, senior journalist tweeted wishing good luck to Joshi:
Its taken 2 years 7 months for Centre to sack Pahlaj Nihalani. What can one say? better later than never: @prasoonjoshi_ all the best!
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 11, 2017
Writer Suhel Seth took a jibe at Nihalani and tweeted:
Am keenly looking forward to some fine Nihalani films. Govind and not by that other dolt. 😂 — SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) August 12, 2017
(With inputs from Abhishek Srivastava and Seema Sinha)