Pahlaj Nihalani claims that he is being targetted because during his tenure as CBFC chief, he had "taken various steps for the purpose of removing the irregularities and other illegal activities within the office".
Pahlaj Nihalani (L) and Govinda in a still from Rangeela Raja
Filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani has approached the Bombay High Court against the many cuts imposed by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on his upcoming film Rangeela Raja.
Rangeela Raja, starring Govinda, is written and produced by Nihalani. The two, who have worked together in hit films Ilzaam (1986), Shola aur Shabnam(1992) and Aankhen (1993), are working together after 25 years. Govinda has a double role in the film - one is a womanising businessman while the other is a deeply religious man.
Nihalani, who has himself helmed the CBFC in the past, ordered many cuts like the kissing scene in the James Bond film Spectre. However, he also allowed controversial scenes in some sex comedies around that time. After many controversies, Nihalani was ousted and replaced by Prasoon Joshi.
Rangeela Raja was set to release on November 16, and there are 20 cuts that the CBFC has proposed for passing the film. Nihalani says in the petition that while he was Chairman of CBFC, he had "taken various steps for the purpose of removing the irregularities and other illegal activities within the office" and thus feels that he "is being treated as an enemy by the staff" of the institute.
Nihalani's advocate Ashok Saraogi said, "The way the cuts have been proposed is a joke. They are asking us to remove everything that has a historical context."
The petition also targets Joshi saying that his appointment is "politically motivated" and that all the people including those in the screening committee have ganged up against him. Nihalani states that normally, the CBFC screening committee would have taken 21 days to see the film but in his case, they took 40 days and passed an order on many cuts without hearing him out.
Nihalani seeks the court's indulgence on the ground that the Bombay High Court had given relief to Udta Punjab which was ordered to be cut by CBFC in 2016 when Nihalani was chairman of the board. Petition states that CBFC has passed films like Veere Di Wedding, Stree, Manmarziyaan "wherein, all kind of vulgar scenes and dialogues have been permitted."
Nihalani says in the petition that he has already made arrangements for the release of the film and spent crores on it. Saraogi said that the petition would be heard by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday.