Pahlaj Nihalani sacked as CBFC chief, Prasoon Joshi to replace him

Prasoon Joshi has been appointed censor board chief following the sacking of Pahlaj Nihalani

He had recently objected to the word "intercourse" in Shah Rukh Khan starrer When Harry Met Sejal.

Defending his decision, Nihalani had said, "We feel the superstars who are followed by millions and who set an example in societal behaviour must not be shown drinking or smoking on screen unless the provocation for doing so is extreme'. We have not given certificate to them, we have only given them certificate for digital, but then they don't require certification for digital platform", he was quoted as saying.

He told India Today that the news of his appointment was still sinking in, and that he'd been initially surprised that his name had come up. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had said last month that he would be asked to leave, and were reportedly looking for a replacement.

Joshi has worked on a number of successful and critically acclaimed Bollywood films, such as Black, Taare Zameen Par, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Rang De Basanti, Delhi-6, and Neerja.

He has also played a part in the election campaign of political party, BJP, which led to the election of PM Modi.

The 23-member Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which is commonly referred to as the censor board, has been mired in controversy ever since the Nihalani took over as its chief in January 2015. And a lot of them must be having a sigh of relief after this step of the government. He became famous for chopping off scenes from the movies and posing problems for filmmakers. He was offended over the word lesbian and only after the word was muted, the movie was allowed to release. His stint during Udta Punjab and the James Bond franchise film Spectre also made him face the heat.

Joshi's appointment as the new censor chief drew appreciation.

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, who was rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the post in case Nihalani was ousted, says, "Prasoon understands cinematic values and the liberty that filmmakers take". He is also popular in the advertising world. "So his understanding of the medium is very good".

Whatever has happened is the government's decision. I applaud Smirti Irani and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore for the change.

Prasoon is considered as an icon for youth and his superlative blend of contemporary and progressive views surely initiated the board members to select him unanimously.

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