Pahlaj Nihalani vs 'Udta Punjab': How the censor board chief's killing Bollywood with a 1,000 cuts

Swetha Ramakrishnan

Jun 09, 2016 13:55:57 IST

Pahlaj Nihalani has been in the news for a while.

Before Udta Punjab, it was for making statements like, "I don't mind being called sanskaari, if it is in the national interest", and for the various bizarre cuts and certification he has given to films. (Remember Spectre?)

If there was ever a time to have a list of the most cringe-worthy cuts Nihalani has made, it is now:

Jungle Book

Pahlaj Nihalani vs Udta Punjab: How the censor board chiefs killing Bollywood with a 1,000 cuts

Poster from Facebook.

Did you ever think that you would live to see the day when a censor board chief calls a children's film scary? Nihalani was convinced that The Jungle Book would startle children and therefore gave the film a U/A certificate. Kaa would not have been pleased.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha 


Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Youtube screen grab.

This family entertainer had to cut out 4 words in total, including lesbian and ghanta (which we don't get). What about a phonetic way of saying, "stuff it" does Nihalani have a problem with? We'll never know.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo


Poster from Facebook.

Speaking of family entertainers, Prem Ratan Payo is probably one of those films that the CBFC uses as an example for filmmakers on how to make sanskaari films. Or so you'd think. However, even PRDP has to cut out a word (rakhail or mistress) and (here's the shocker) they had to cut out a Ram-Leela scene from the film as well. What's un-sanskaari about a Hindu celebration?

Jai Gangaajal



Poster from News 18.

This Priyanka Chopra film had its fair share of censor troubles. The board had initially asked for 11 cuts, but when the makers approached FCAT, it was reduced to two. However, Prakash Jha didn't have the best things to say about Nihalani, according to this IB Times report: "His behaviour is bad and so is his thinking. The way he treats producers is humiliating. The censor board is not a menace, it is all Nihalani's personal agenda. He does not understand. His own manipulations and methods are questionable."



Poster from Facebook.

It makes sense for a film like Badlapur to get an 'A' certificate because of its portrayal of sex and violence. However for a film that is about revenge, how does Pahlaj Nihalani justify asking the makers to remove a scene where Varun Dhawan strangulates Nawazuddin? We won't even get into the kissing scenes that were taken off.


NH10 marked Anushka's foray into production. Her banner is called 'Clean Slate'.

NH10 actress Anushka Sharma. Youtube screen grab.

Before the film was released, it was a sure thing that Navdeep Singh's NH10 would face issues with the censor. In this Indian Express interview, Singh explains how the word 'randi' (prostitute) was allowed to be seen scribbled on a wall, but not allowed to be said. The reason for this was because in the next scene the word was to be erased.

As if that doesn't infuriate you enough (ever heard of exposure doing the trick?), Singh reveals half the board wanted to ban the film entirely.

Kya Kool Hai Hum 3


Kya Kool Hai Hum 3 poster. Image from Facebook.

Can sex comedies be left behind? With over a 100 proposed cuts, it is a surprise this film even got a release (what would we outrage over if everything is cut out from the film?). However some of the most infuriating cuts include replacing the word 'Banana ride' with 'jet ride' and replacing the use of 'popat' with 'prem'. What's wrong with a parrot, Mr Nihalani?



Poster of Shaandaar. Image from Facebook.

The film may not have done well at the box office, but it had its fair share of run ins with the CBFC. The makers were particularly asked to cut out words like 'ghanta' and 'maal. So let's get this straight. You are okay with songs like 'Fevicol se' and 'Manali Trance' that particularly treat the women as 'maal' but the word is not okay?

Angry Indian Goddesses


Youtube screen grab from Angry Indian Goddesses.

Speaking of objectification, the cuts in Angry Indian Goddesses will especially rile you up. Any instance of a woman objectifying a man has been cut out, no matter how humourous it is. Again, if a man does it (we're looking at you Salman) it's fine, but not women.

Ki and Ka


Arjun Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan in Ki and Ka. Image from News 18.

And finally, the most infuriating of them all. R Balki's Ki and Ka was allowed to have as many kisses as they wanted, and references to sex because the lead pair in married. Now if that's not sanskaari, we don't know what is.


Updated Date: Jun 09, 2016 14:24:17 IST