Bollywood celebrities flay CBFC Chief Pahlaj Nihalani

Pahlaj-Nihalani-pti (File) CBFC Chief Pahlaj Nihalani

A few days ago, internet was abuzz with 'Sanskari James Bond' memes after CBFC Chief Pahlaj Nihalani decided to trim down the kissing scene in the latest bond flick, Spectre to 20 seconds.

Now, the CBFC Chief who said in an interview that "Few thousand people on Twitter don't know what India is. India is a land where people put Gangajal on their face" is facing flak from Bollywood celebrities as well. "Stop playing nanny," is the message from several film personalities to him.

Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal said censorship should be abolished.

"... I am concerned about the imposition of censorship here, which has no real purpose except to come in the way of you expression. That's the kind of censorship I oppose.

"There is a certain amount of debate going on in the press about censorship and chairman and how it does not appeal to large number of people. This kind of thing does not make sense. It has no place," Benegal said on the sidelines of IFFI in Goa.

"Bajrangi Bhaijaan" helmer Kabir Khan, who is also in Goa to attend NFDC Film Baazar, said he found the whole fiasco surrounding the censorship of "Spectre" kissing scenes "ridiculous".

"We have to be told as adults we can't see a kiss? And a kiss being reduced from 30 seconds to 8 seconds? Are those 22 seconds going to destroy our morality and the culture of our country? This is absolutely ridiculous that censor board has to act like a nanny. Their job is to certify...

"I don't think we should be getting down into removing cuss words and kisses. It's juvenile."

Actress Sonakshi Sinha without taking names, said international films never faced such an issue in the country earlier.

"Whoever is playing nanny should first kind of rewind back and see the films that they have been making and then kind of figure out and decide what is to be done.

"But I am not on board with this because we've been having international films playing over here for the longest time and we have never faced such an issue," she said while indirectly.

I believe our culture is still very much intact...," Sonakshi said.

Aamir, whose kissing scene with actress Karisma Kapoor in 1996 film "Raja Hindustani" is considered to be one of the longest such sequences in Bollywood, joked that he feels "lucky" when asked about his reaction to the "Spectre" kiss getting shortened.

The 50-year-old "PK" star said though he has not had any personal run-ins with the censor board off-late, he feels the body's recent attitude is "worrying".

"If a film is certifed adult then you should be able to show pretty much everything because an adult can decide if he or she wants to watch the film. There is no censorship required after certification. That's our understanding of certification.

"But as I understand it, it has been a little aggressive in its approach in last six to eight months, which is worrying. I hope it changes," Aamir said.

In his defence, Nihalani said his decisions are based on rules and if anyone finds anything against him, he will step down.

The censor board chief is also in news for his proposed film on FTII students, who have been protesting against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute's new chairman.

"Prove it and then remove me. I have no issue. If I am wrong, I am going to step down," Nihalani told a TV channel.

(With input from agencies)

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