When Pahlaj Ni­ha­lani went into the mindspace of Amartya Sen

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Sub­hash K Jha htc­ity@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■

Re­spond­ing to the up­roar over the cuts or­dered by the Cen­tral Board of Film Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion (aka Cen­sor Board) in Su­man Ghosh’s doc­u­men­tary The Ar­gu­men­ta­tive In­dian, CBFC chair­per­son Pahlaj Ni­ha­lani says that the mere dele­tion of six words doesn’t amount to smoth­ered cre­ativ­ity.

Ni­ha­lani tells us, “I’ve been flooded with calls from print me­dia and tele­vi­sion chan­nels, ask­ing why we’ve beeped six words in the doc­u­men­tary. For the first and last time, here’s the rea­son why — be­cause we felt that a doc­u­men­tary on an In­dian No­bel Lau­re­ate (Prof. Amartya Sen) re­fer­ring so in­sen­si­tively to our pol­i­tics and re­li­gion could re­sult in a se­ri­ous breach [of] peace.”

The CBFC head says that the dele­tion is wrongly be­ing seen as pro-gov­ern­ment syco­phancy. “We’re not... un­der pres­sure from the gov­ern­ment,” he says, adding, “Re­fer­ring to a cow in a flip­pant man­ner or call­ing Hin­dutva ‘ba­nal’ could se­ri­ously breach the com­mu­nal har­mony of the coun­try. When film­mak­ers talk about free­dom of ex­pres­sion, they should know that such free­dom comes with re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Ni­ha­lani wants Ghosh to calm down. “Sim­ply re­act­ing be­cause six words are beeped out, when they in no way af­fect your artis­tic free­dom, is just a knee-jerk re­ac­tion. Please look at the larger pic­ture.” He also points out that the film has been screened with­out a cen­sor cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. “That’s il­le­gal,” he says. “Free­dom of ex­pres­sion is fine. What about break­ing the law?”

We se­ri­ously feel the re­moval of the words causes no in­jury to Prof. Amartya Sen’s thought pro­cesses in the doc­u­men­tary PAHLAJ NI­HA­LANI, CBFC CHAIR­PER­SON

PHOTO: RAJ K RAJ/HT

Amartya Sen speaks in the docu-film, The Ar­gu­men­ta­tive In­dian

PHOTO: SU­NIL SHIRSEKAR / FOTOCORP

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