Pahlaj Nihalani has been removed from the position of CBFC chief and replaced by Prasoon Joshi, according to multiple television reports.
According to TV reports, Pahlaj's censorship of films, which was objected to by filmmakers and audiences alike, was the reason behind him being removed from the position.
Ever since the appointment of Nihalani in January 2015, the CBFC's stance on several films has been questioned. Under Nihalani, the CBFC has been repeatedly criticised for indulging in moral policing and functioning as a 'censor' board rather than a certification board.
Films like Ka Bodyscapes and Lipstick Under My Burkha which won international acclaim were refused certification by the CBFC.
Nihalani was in the news once again when he insisted that the word 'intercourse' be beeped from the trailer of Jab Harry Met Sejal. He'd thrown open a challenge regarding his decision to a TV channel, asking them to collect 1 lakh votes in favour of the movie if the trailer should be released. 'Sanskari Nihalani' was even trending on Twitter during this time.
Previously, the CBFC had made bizarre demands like the word 'Punjab' should be beeped out of Udta Punjab. Several films like Indu Sarkar and An Significant Man ran into trouble as well. There was also a recent statement that films which show alcohol consumption by the characters would be certified 'A'.
Following the sustained criticism of the CBFC, the Shyam Benegal Committee was formed to limit the powers of the board. Some filmmakers, however, said that the move was simply an eyewash and an attempt for the government to gain more control.
Lyricist Prasoon Joshi has replaced Nihalani. The 43-year-old is known for his memorable songs in Bollywood films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Taare Zameen Par.
He is also a two-time National awardee for best lyrics, and has also received the Padma Shri in 2015 for his contributions towards the field of Arts, Literature and Advertising.
Notably, he had said in an interview in January that he was disappointed with the way Bollywood songs were demeaning women.
While it remains to be seen if Prasoon does not use the same moralistic and arguably arbitrary cuts in films, Nihalani's departure from the CBFC had been in the pipeline for a while.
According to a report from July 25, sources had told TOI that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that Nihalani might be replaced.
According to reports, actor Vidya Balan will also be a member of the CBFC.