Pahlaj Nihalani might have made his unceremonious exit from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), but trust the man to find new ways to be in the news. From lashing out at the new Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani to now turning distributor for an erotic thriller called Julie 2, Nihalani is hardly enjoying his time away from the limelight. The contrary, more like it, or his recent antics would have you believe.
Nihalani, who as the chairperson of the CBFC made sure that not one un-sanskaari thing escaped his hawk-eyes, is now distributing Julie 2 starring Raai Laxmi, touted to be an erotic thriller.
The official trailer of Julie 2 that begins with the words ‘Pahlaj Nihalani presents’, released today, has sentences like, “Yahan pe sirf body chalta hai, garma-garam body,” and shots of blingy bras being slipped at the drop of a hat. No, as a distributor, Nihalani did not order this bra blurred a la 2015’s Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
In fact, the director of Julie 2 actually went on the record to say that Nihalani had no problems at all with anything in the film. “It’s a content-driven film and Pahlajji had no objections to any of the scenes,” director Deepak Shivdasani told Mumbai Mirror.
At the trailer launch of Julie 2, Nihalani was targeted for his sheer hypocrisy, but he maintained that he has no doubts that the film will pass with an ‘A’ certificate.
When asked if CBFC passes his film with innumerable cuts, he said that he will welcome their decision with open arms. In fact, he added that this is not a publicity gimmick to get him back in news.
Julie 2 marks Raai Laxmi’s Bollywood debut. The director narrated how Pahlaj Nihalani came on board, “I started writing the script in 2012 and had discussed the idea with Pahlajji then. He loved it. He is family and after seeing it with his wife recently he told me ‘Yeh film ab meri hai,’ and will be presenting it.”
Nihalani confirmed the developments to the daily, adding how his responsibilities as the CBFC chief kept him away from his distribution work in the last few years.
“My last films were Sridevi’s Tamil film Puli, followed by the 2016 Iranian-Indian drama Salaam Mumbai. My family loved Julie 2, it’s a bold thriller about how talented people come into the industry and then are forced to compromise. It’s a good expose with a message for aspiring actors who come from across the county and don’t get the right people or platform,” said Nihalani.
And that is not all.
The ex-CBFC chairperson even went on to say how he thought Julie 2 should be given an ‘A’ certificate with no cuts. “Julie 2 should be given an ‘A’ certificate without any cuts. There is no vulgarity, obscenity or even a language problem,” Pahlaj told the daily.
“This is a hot seat, you have to be careful with guidelines which are perfect and only the rating system we require,” he added.
Nihalani’s U-Turn has left many scratching their heads. After all, this is the same man who ordered kisses snipped (in the James Bond film Spectre, 2015), had problems with the word ‘intercourse’ (in Jab Harry Met Sejal this year) and even with a bra being shown in a film (in 2015’s Dum Laga Ke Haisha). Time changes people, you think?