When Pahlaj Nihalani went into the mindspace of Amartya Sen
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
Amartya Sen speaks in the docu-film, The Argumentative Indian