CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani had found the word ‘intercourse’ in the film ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’, problematic.

Lets talk about s-e-x baby Sofia Ashrafs rebuttal to Pahlaj Nihalani intercourse discourse
Social Film Monday, July 03, 2017 - 19:40

Are you above 36 years old and married with children? Does the word ‘intercourse’ make you squeamish, just as it does to the CBFC Chief Pankaj Nihalini? Well, activist rapper Sofia Ashraf has a suggestion for you.

An ‘adult movie’ she has starred in begins with Sofia receiving a package from a delivery man but not having the money to pay him. And just as Sofia tries to strike a deal with him, hoping to repay him in, ahem, another way, she bluntly says “online payment” and then goes on to candidly inform her viewers, “"What? Just because it's an adult film doesn't mean it's a porno."

With that punch dialogue, Sofia then goes on to advise 36-year-old couples who have teenage kids not to shy away from discussing sex - unless of course they want them to learn about it from the internet, films or porn.

Sofia’s ‘adult movie’ was in response to Pankaj Nihalani, who has a penchant for making news about his reservations about certain scenes, references, words, orientations of the film and so on. Last week, his radar locked in on the word ‘intercourse’ as he was reviewing the certification for Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma starrer Jab Harry Met Sejal.

What followed was his declaration to TV channel Mirror Now that if he got over a lakh votes from people who would be comfortable with the word ‘intercourse’ being in the film, he would allow the word on screen. Sounds simple? Except Nihalani had other plans – he only wanted the votes to be from married couples over 36 years of age. Here’s what he told Mirror Now:

“You take voting from the public and I will clear the word (intercourse) on the promo and the film also. I want 1 lakh votes and I want to see that India has changed and Indian families want their 12-year-old kids to understand the meaning of this word (intercourse)… “I’d accept votes only from people who are married and above the age of 36.”

So Mirror Now conducted an online poll about the same where over 1.2 lakh people voted in favour of the word ‘intercourse’ being allowed in the film and the trailer.

You’d expect the problem to be solved but no. After all, Mr Nihalani is a tough cookie to crack. So when he a Mirror Now reporter went to get his reaction after the poll results, the CBFC chief literally gave her the silent treatment. For over two excruciating minutes in an elevator, the man looks anywhere but at her, pretending he has lost his hearing and she is all but invisible to him.

Watch the video, which Huffpost described as the “Oddly Satisfying Video Of Pahlaj Nihalani Cornered In An Elevator By A Reporter”, here.

And there’s more. According to a report in The Quint, Nihalani claimed after the incident that the votes were a result of Shah Rukh Khan fans voting in the favour of his film. “If among them a lakh say ‘yes’ to his dialogue, what is the big deal? Show me a lakh of ticket-paying members of the audience approving of an actor with a family image talking so blatantly about sex, and then we’ll see,” he said.

He is also planning to take legal action against Mirror Now for harassment and defamation. He alleged that he was being attacked for TRPs because no one watched their channel. He then went on to blame the reporter, saying that she had waited at the CBFC office for six hours, and then tried to get his reaction when she saw him.

(It is normal for reporters to wait for hours to get responses from people, JFYI)

And then, Nihalani said something which could distinctly remind you of a relative who has that air of these-things-must-not-be-spoken-about whenever you discuss subjects like s-e-x.

“She (the reporter) was just a young girl asking these embarrassing questions. Sorry, I may be old fashioned or fuddy-duddy as the news channel calls me. But I can’t talk about sex with a reporter young enough to be my daughter. She insisted and kept following me right into the lift. To my credit I kept my cool. What if I had lost my temper? She’d have gone back and made a story about sexual harassment against me,” Nihalani said.

He added that he was just doing his job and was only answerable to the government, and not a channel looking to boost its TRPs.