India Never Saw Such Niceness
The Central Board of Film Certification, (CBFC) which likes to call itself the Censor Board, sacked its chairperson, Pahlaj Nihalani on Friday. Soon social media erupted in celebrations. Everyone seemed relieved. Everyone was happy and heaved a sigh of relief. But let me tell you, you should have wept. You should have wept for the old man who was ousted, because he was a gem. There is no end to how much he contributed to this nation’s cinema and culture.
In the beginning
There was stupidity. You see, that’s the thing. You had a nice stupid man, who couldn’t understand what sexual harassment was. Going by what our courts, our leaders etc. think about women, sexual harassment and rape, Pahlaj Nihalani was the person best suited for this role. When Aman Yatin Verma was accused of sexual harassment, this gem of a man said, ‘If you need a role in films, you need to go to producers or directors and not actors. So why was this girl going to actors and not producers?’
This was long before he became the Censor Board chief. And guess what? The man really worked on his talent called misogyny. His most recent comment was about a female reporter. When a journalist was doing her job and pursuing him to answer her questions, he said that the woman could have falsely implicated him in a sexual harassment case. Such sensitivity in gender issues and sexual harassment was Nihalani’s strongest point. Why would anyone think of removing him!
Pahlani’s most favourite subject was sex. Or the lack of it. Or the death of it. Austerity personified, this man strove hard to make sex disappear from cinema. This is the best approach in a country like India where sex talk is considered taboo. By promoting the stigma he was serving the nation in making a generation that thinks of sex as a dreadful epidemic. He asked the word ‘intercourse’ to be removed from the trailer of ‘When Harry Met Sejal’.
Now what is wrong in treating homosexuality like it’s poison? Pahlani was again just being loyal to his own Prime Minister oops! nation – he was being loyal to his nation, which still considers sex between people of the same sex a ‘crime’. So he gave an ‘A’ certificate to film ‘Aligarh’. Even before that, he stopped the release of ‘Un-Freedom’, a film about a lesbian love story. Poor man. He just didn’t want the youth of this nation too go in the wrong direction. Of course, homosexuality is a wrong direction, don’t you know that?
Smoking, Drinking etc.
You think this is about the statutory warnings that appear on screen when characters smoke and drink? Nope. This is about banning the acts altogether. Like from scripts, Pahlani wanted any smoking and drinking scene to be removed. He was really taking his role seriously. So sincere, that he reminded everyone that the biggest reason why people drink and smoke is because fiction films show similar people who smoke and drink. Poor thing! His intentions were always misinterpreted. Here, take the shoulder to cry on.
Come on! Everyone knows that letting women tell stories of women is the worst that can happen in a sanskaari nation. So some films will have to be told that they are too ‘lady oriented.’ Now think of women having sex! Blasphemy. Pahlani couldn’t stand it and how can you blame him. His intention was really good. He just wanted women to be what Bollywood thinks they are. People fit to add colour or sexiness (because female body is nothing but a sex object) to the scene.
So it is perfectly okay to say that Pahlaj Nihalani, or Pahlani, as I lovingly call him, was a scapegoat. He fought valiantly for the nation. Tooth and nail. This bloody ungrateful nation just didn’t stand by him. Please play sad music here. Nothing lady oriented, mind it.