I wrote this for HuffPost India and it was published literally minutes before the news broke that Pahlaj Nihalani was fired and replaced by Prasoon Joshi. Obviously, I take full credit for these developments.
Remember when Pahlaj Nihalani said that he might pursue legal action against filmmakers for showing films abroad without a CBFC certificate? It’s okay if you don’t, because it’s just one of the several incomprehensible rants the Censor Board chairman goes on every now and then.
But here’s the thing: the Censor Board has zero control over what is shown in film festivals—and they just admitted it.
Responding to an RTI application I filed, the CBFC said that it has “no jurisdiction” over films being exhibited in festivals, either in India or abroad. So much for ‘clamping down’.
Keep this in mind: the Censor Board regulates films that are exhibited theatrically in India. This means that it has absolutely no control over film festivals or even overseas distribution. Why is then Pahlaj Nihalani rattling his sabers?