MUMBAI: Controversial former head of Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), Pahalaj Nihalani, has blamed information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani for his ouster from the post.
The former head of the censor board also made several sensational claims regarding several films including Udta Punjab and Salman Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijan and how he used to get directions from the Centre regarding the films.
"I learnt about my ouster from the board through media," Pahlaj Nihalani claimed in an interview with a media house.
"Smriti is the other name of controversy. She sported controversies in every department that she was sent to. She wanted me to clear 'Indu Sarkar' without any cuts. But, I insisted on following the rule book and suggested cuts that were necessary. That hurt her ego. She wanted to show her presence in the department, and then who was the better target but me," Pahlaj Nihalani said.
Pahlaj Nihalani, who was removed five months before his tenure ends, however, said that he feels much relieved after being removed from the post. "I'm tension-free after getting rid of the 'Katon ka Taaj' (crown of thorns)," he said. He also praised his successor Prasoon Joshi saying that he is a nice man.
"Prasoon is a nice man but, he will have to withstand the effects of all the good and the bad things I did while being there," the former CBFC head said.
Pahlaj Nihalani also raised the issue of corruption within the board. "There are several touts and agents within the board. Many people are bribed in thousands even for a film promo," Nihalani added.
"While being at the helm of the CBFC, one has to bare several pressures. The home department wanted me not to clear 'Udta Punjab' at all. But I did not budge to the pressure," Nihalani said. The home department also wanted me not to let 'Bajrangi Bhaijan' release around Eid. That was again when I countered them, Pahlaj Nihalani claims.
Pahlaj Nihalani also claimed credit for success of the film 'Lipstick Under My Burqa'. "Several allegations were leveled against me over the film. But, the controversy helped the film get success in the box office. Otherwise there were no hopes for the film," Pahlaj Nihalani said.