“Har Ghar Modi” producer cum singer Pahlaj Nihalani Becomes New Censor Board Chief

New Delhi(web team): Pahlaj Nihalani, the new chief of the Central Board of Film Certification, said that he hoped to run an organisation bereft of controversy and corruption.

“It is a great responsibility both from the point of view of society and the film industry,” Nihalani told Scroll.in. “I am touched by the belief vested in me by Shri Narendra Modi and the honorable minister, and I hope to function without any problems.”

“Har Ghar Modi” producer cum singer Pahlaj Nihalani Becomes New Censor Board Chief

Nihalani, a veteran producer of action dramas and comedies in the eighties and nineties including Shola Aur Shabnam, Aakhen and Paap Ki Duniya, was named on Monday as Leela Samson’s replacement after she resigned in the wake of the Messenger of God controversy.

Samson’s term had expired a few months ago, and she was holding charge until the Information and Broadcasting Ministry named her replacement. Following the decision of an appelate tribunal to give a screening certificate to the controversial Messenger of God, which extols the heroism and supernatural healing powers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, without consulting her, Samson resigned. So did other members of the Board whose terms had expired soon after hers.

The Messenger of God will now open in cinemas on January 30.

The government also named the new members of the board, including former television actor and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vani Tripathi Tikoo and filmmakers Ashoke Pandit and Chandra Prakash Dwivedi. Pandit’s name was being floated as one of the candidates for the CBFC chairperson when Samson’s term ended. Other Board members are television series writer Mihir Bhuta, Syed Abdul Bari, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh activist Ramesh Patange, Assamese actor George Baker, Telugu actor Jeevitha and Tamil playwright S V Shekhar.

Naming a show business representative to run an organisation whose actions directly affect film distribution and exhibition has an immediate advantage: increased comfort levels among filmmakers. It gives them the the assurance that the CBFC will appreciate their urgency in getting a screening certificate, for instance, or their need to get a particular rating. Previous industry representatives who have run the CBFC include Vijay Anand, Asha Parekh, Anupam Kher, and Sharmila Tagore.

Nihalani said that the Board had been plagued by allegations in corruption in recent months, more than he had seen in his career as a producer. ” I hope that during my tenure, there will be no complaints and corruption,” he said.

In April, in the run-up to the general elections, Nihalani produced this music video titled Har Ghar Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi. “The BJP government has helped our industry tremendously in past years including getting us industry status and banking finance,” he said at the time. “I worked very closely with them to ensure it happens and the video is my tribute on behalf of the industry.”