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Last Updated 22.05.2024 | 5:49 PM IST
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SHOCKING: CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi accused of delaying censor process of Bhojpuri film Rang De Basanti as its title is similar to 2006 Hindi movie; Pahlaj Nihalani LASHES out, “Prasoon ne producers ko laawaris bana ke rakha hai”

en Bollywood News SHOCKING: CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi accused of delaying censor process of Bhojpuri film Rang De Basanti as its title is similar to 2006 Hindi movie; Pahlaj Nihalani LASHES out, “Prasoon ne producers ko laawaris bana ke rakha hai”

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) landed in a major controversy last year when South actor Vishal levelled charges of bribery and corruption against its officials. Less than 6 months later, the CBFC is back in the news for the wrong reasons. The makers of a big-budget Bhojpuri film, Rang De Basanti, have been running pillar to post in order to get the censor certificate. They have accused the CBFC chairperson, Prasoon Joshi, of deliberately delaying the process as their film has a similar name to that of a 2006 Hindi film, starring Aamir Khan. They claim that Prasoon is probably doing so as he was associated with the Hindi film as a lyricist.

SHOCKING: CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi accused of delaying censor process of Bhojpuri film Rang De Basanti as its title is similar to 2006 Hindi movie; Pahlaj Nihalani LASHES out, “Prasoon ne producers ko laawaris bana ke rakha hai”

SHOCKING: CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi accused of delaying censor process of Bhojpuri film Rang De Basanti as its title is similar to 2006 Hindi movie; Pahlaj Nihalani LASHES out, “Prasoon ne producers ko laawaris bana ke rakha hai”

On March 5, Roshan Singh, the producer of the Bhojpuri film Rang De Basanti, wrote a letter to the CBFC that he had applied for a certificate on February 3. Though the screening took place on February 19 and the screening report was submitted on February 21, the process has been delayed due to a clearance from the chairperson.

Then on March 6, Abhay Sinha, president of the Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association (IMPPA) too wrote to the CBFC requesting urgent clearance, since Rang De Basanti is scheduled to be released on March 22.

With no update, the makers wrote another letter to the CBFC on March 9 in which they claimed that on March 8, they were asked to change the name of the film by a CBFC official on a phone call.

Bollywood Hungama exclusively accessed these letters and also spoke to Roshan Singh. He said, “The screening report was submitted on February 21 and then it was okayed by RO on February 26. Until March 6, we didn’t get any answer. That’s when we submitted a letter. I used to call them daily and when I went to meet them, I was made to wait for 4 hours. I asked why the certificate was not being given to us. But we were told, ‘We have no idea. He (the chairperson) is holding (the certificate)’.”

Roshan further added, “Since then, I have been calling them daily but to no avail. On March 8, I got a call from CBFC and I was asked, ‘Kya aap apni film ka title change kar sakte hai kya?’. I made it clear that it’s not possible as we have begun the publicity and the material has gone out. Also, we have applied in certain states for subsidy and the name of the film in the paperwork is Rang De Basanti. The caller said that he’ll pass on my message to the chairperson.”

He also said, “On March 9, we wrote another letter to the CBFC where we clearly mentioned that the chairperson is deliberately trying to hold the film as he is associated with the Hindi film, Rang De Basanti.”

Roshan Singh explained why he felt that Prasoon Joshi is deliberately targeting his film, “In 2008, a Bhojpuri film, Rang De Basanti Chola, had already been released. But Mr Prasoon wasn’t the chairperson then. Interestingly, another Bhojpuri film submitted for censor is Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam. Its screening happened a day after Rang De Basanti’s screening. But since the chairperson wasn’t involved with the Hindi film of the same name, he didn’t hold it. It was passed on March 5.”

SHOCKING: CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi accused of delaying censor process of Bhojpuri film Rang De Basanti as its title is similar to 2006 Hindi movie; Pahlaj Nihalani LASHES out, “Prasoon ne producers ko laawaris bana ke rakha hai”

When asked what his next step would be, he replied, “On Monday, March 11, I’ll personally hand over the letter. We are so tense now as our film is releasing on March 22.”

Pahlaj Nihalani, filmmaker and ex-CBFC chairperson and a vocal critic of the current chairperson, told Bollywood Hungama that he’s aware of this episode, “CBFC works only for the corporates. It doesn’t care much for small Hindi or regional films. If Rang De Basanti featured a big star, CBFC 3-4 din mein certificate de deti.”

As of March 8, the dashboard on the CBFC website shows the status of Rang De Basanti as 'Pending for Review of Examination Report by Chairman'. Pahlaj said that this rarely happens. “Usually, the chairperson never clears. The CEO or RO does the needful. But since Rang De Basanti was the title and Mr Prasoon Joshi wrote its songs, a call was made to the makers asking them to change the film’s name,” he said.

Pahlaj Nihalani decided to help the Rang De Basanti’s makers when he heard their plight. “For the first time, I called him (Prasoon Joshi) 3-4 times,” he said. “But he didn’t pick up the call or revert even once. Since he has assumed the position, I have never called him. But this time, I couldn’t stop myself as I wanted to ask him why the poor filmmaker was being harassed. If a big Bhojpuri film is waiting for a censor certificate for as many as 3 weeks, who’s responsible for this delay?”

The veteran filmmaker then thundered, “The chairman is nikamma. He has no right to be in that position. I wonder why the government has allowed him to continue. Usne producers ko laawaris bana ke rakha hai. How can they ask him to change the title? They have registered it at a respectable organization like IMPPA. If there’s any problem, the committee decides what to do. How can the chairperson decide to tweak the title? He’s misusing power because of his self-interest.”

When asked what the makers should do, Pahlaj Nihalani drew parallels with the infamous Udta Punjab-CBFC row that took place under his chairmanship, “He (the producer) might not have any other alternative but to go to the Court. Court ne Udta Punjab (2016) ek din mein dekhi thi. The court then rejected all cuts and allowed only one modification. If the court can act so swiftly then, I hope they do it for Rang De Basanti. Here, the objection anyway is only for the title.”

Pahlaj Nihalani also brought up the issue of the U/A certificate given to Ajay Devgn’s latest release, Shaitaan, while the original was an adults-only film, “Vash (2023) was ‘A’ while the remake is U/A. If Shaitaan is a remake, how can both films get different ratings? It shows CBFC is biased towards big-shots and is against small producers.” Bollywood Hungama was the first one to report on this aspect.

Rang De Basanti stars Khesari Lal Yadav, Rati Pandey, Diana Khan and is directed by Premanshu Singh.


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