Sacking of Pahlaj Nihalani after his controversial stint was welcomed by film fraternity. Celebrities like Shyam Benegal, Shoojit Sircar, Madhur Bhandarkar and Rahul Dholakia applauded Information & Broadcasting Ministry’s decision of replacing Pahlaj Nihalani with renowned lyricist and ad guru Prasoon Joshi as the new chief of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The National Award Winner lyricist is "happy" to be the new CBFC chief, said: "I will always try to take opinion of people, who have right and positive thinking because this is very new to me." Though Joshi considers himself unaware about the functioning of CBFC, Joshi calls himself a "sensible man", who "believes in taking responsibilities".
Talking about his appointment, director Shoojit Sircar said, "I think Prasoon Joshi is absolutely eligible. He has been a part of the mainstream film industry. He knows exactly...he himself is a creative person. So, I think he will understand much deeper what we filmmakers want and what people should watch. It's a great move that Prasoon Joshi has come on board."
Actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bidita Bag's "Babumoshai Bandookbaaz" was the latest Bollywood film which faced the wrath of Nihalani, who had suggested 48 cuts in the film despite giving it an ‘A' certificate. "I really appreciate the decision that government of India and the concerned ministry have taken. It is not just victory for our team, but I feel it is victory of the Indian film industry. I want to congratulate Prasoon Joshi. I really appreciate his work and I hope under his tenure as CBFC chief, we will see positive changes in policies and working of CBFC," Bidita said.
Kiran Shyam Shroff, one of the producers of "Babumoshai Bandookbaaz", sees the move as a welcome change. "I think the incidents during 'Babumoshai Bandookbaaz' put the final nail in the coffin. In the last few years, most of the producers faced problems to get certification of their films. Every time, after the controversy, people demanded his resignation but did not happen."
"During our film, one of the board members humiliated me for wearing jeans and a T-shirt despite being a woman. That was a very personal and regressive statement. Though they have not done anything on that particular incident, this is welcoming," she added. She believes that as times are changing, people have to get rid of "regressive mind" and need to understand others perspective.
Filmmaker Bhandarkar, who ran into trouble with Nihalani over his political drama "Indu Sarkar" said, "Prasoon is a very evolved person. He comes from the advertising background and will have a modern point of view. Choosing Prasoon is a welcome decision by the government." Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who led a panel that has made recommendations for a revamp of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, also considered Joshi as an "excellent choice".
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri said that Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani was looking at the CBFC with a fresh perspective. "With Prasoon Joshi heading it, it was tempting for me to come on board,"said Agnihotri. Filmmaker Rahul Dholakia also welcomed Joshi on social media. "Delighted that Prasoon Joshi is the Chairperson of CBFC. Now let's get Mr Benegal on the table. Long overdue," Dholakia tweeted. Actor-comedian Vir Das wrote on the micro-blogging site: "Congrats to the CBFC for implementing a very sensible cut."
Joshi is known for his contribution to films like "Black", "Taare Zameen Par", "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", "Rang De Basanti", "Delhi-6" and "Neerja", and for designing successful ad campaigns. Prasoon Joshi is also the proud recipient of the Padma Shri. Apart from advertisement and films, he has also penned the theme songs of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and other campaigns.
Joshi will have a team of creative people such as Vidya Balan, Gautami Tadimalla, Narendra Kohli, Naresh Chandra Lal, Neil Herbert Nongkynrih, Vivek Agnihotri, Waman Kendre, T.S. Nagabharana, Ramesh Patange, Vani Tripati Tikoo, Jeevitha Rajasekhar and Mihir Bhuta on the CBFC panel.
(With inputs from IANS)