A week after being removed from the position of Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani has now hit out at Union Textile and Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani for his ouster.
In an interview to Lehren TV, Nihalani alleged that since he did not "listen to" Irani and clear Madhur Bhandarkar's Indu Sarkar without cuts, he was sacked.
"Soon after Smriti ji came, on the very first day, the only hang up then was Indu Sarkar. That was the main issue. She told me, 'Why are you not clearing the film without cuts?' I said I will go with the procedure but now the film is with the Tribunal. I told her why doesn’t she get it cleared from the Tribunal then. Her ego wasn't massaged and I was a good target," he told the YouTube channel.
Nihalani also said that the I&B ministry had told him not to clear Udta Punjab, and also to not to pass Bajrangi Bhaijan during Eid
"But I wrote letters to the ministry asking them to see the movie according to the guidelines. And yet I am the villain for the industry, for Salman Khan and Kabir Khan (director of Bajrangi Bhaijan)," he said.
Nihalani was removed from the position of CBFC chief and replaced by writer-lyricist-ad guru Prasoon Joshi on August 11.
Soon after, Nihalani had said that he had in fact been preparing for his exit for months.
"I had been preparing myself for my exit for months now. Actually, from the time I came in, there have been elements working against me, some of them from within the CBFC. These elements -- I'm not going to name them on-record -- are currently celebrating a premature Diwali," he told IANS.
When asked about his future plans, he said, "I am returning to my first love, film production, in a big way. I will soon be announcing a slew of films. It's been a highly satisfying tenure at the CBFC for me. But, it has also been exhausting and time-consuming. I'm happy to make way for someone else."
He has also called the CBFC a "confused organisation". "Let me make one thing clear. The CBFC guidelines do not stipulate that films should not be cut. Yet I was pressurized from the top to not cut, only certify. The CBFC is a confused organization. We need progressive guidelines. Without them, we are stuck in a time-warp," he said.