Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani today welcomed the Bombay High Court's verdict that set aside the cuts CBFC had suggested, saying the producers had every right to challenge the decision. Nihalani, who was at the centre of the storm surrounding the censorship on the drug-themed movie, said he has always tried to follow the guidelines of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
"We welcome the court's decision. I congratulate the producers on their win. We stand by the producers. They will obviously go to a place where they can get relief. It's their right," Nihalani told reporters. The CBFC chairman, who appeared subdued, said the court's judgement should not be seen as a victory or a defeat. "It's not about anyone's victory or defeat. Be it CBFC or Income Tax or any other department, people can appeal a higher authority against the order. This is a democracy and if people don't even have this right then anything can happen," Nihalani said.
Nihalani reiterated that the decision taken by him was as per the guidelines of the Cinematograph Act. "I was performing my duty. I will continue to do that as the rules given to us. I don't watch the films. The file reaches me after examining committee watches it. I pass my judgement on the basis of it, like the court passed the judgement by seeing the script," he said. When asked about the comments on social media against him, Nihalani said he would not want to answer to anything personal.
Earlier, 'Udta Punjab' co-producer Anurag Kashyap hit out at Nihalani, calling him an "oligarch" and a "dictator" for allegedly trying to sabotage the movie's release. Nihalani, in turn, accused Kashyap of taking money from Aam Aadmi Party. The AAP and Congress had earlier accused Punjab's ruling SAD-BJP alliance of exercising its influence to "censor" the movie, a charge denied by the state government. Kashyap had also tried to avoid the politicisation of the controversy, requesting the political parties to stay away from the issue.