A vacation bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday denied urgent hearing to former CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani who is seeking interim relief regarding cuts ordered by the CBFC in his film Rangeela Raja, starring Govinda.
Justice RI Chagla declined to hear Nihalani’s plea urgently and said the matter could be heard once the court reopens after Diwali vacations on November 19.
Nihalani had filed a petition, in which he stated that he plans releasing the film on November 16 and due to last-minute cuts ordered by CBFC, he would lose a lot of money. He alleged that the said cuts were mala fide in nature and that none of the scenes that have been ordered to be deleted were vulgar in nature. Nihalani alleged that a dialogue regarding Shri Ram has been removed in the said cuts and the same has been done because of the upcoming general elections in 2019 as building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya is an election agenda. He alleged that the cuts were ordered at the behest of current CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi, who is a “political appointee” of the BJP government.
In an order dated November 2, over 20 cuts were asked to be made to Rangeela Raja.
Nihalani has sought the letter dated November 2 to be quashed and prayed for a U or U/A certificate to be granted to the film. Nihalani also sought the constitution of a high court-appointed committee to watch the film and forward their suggestions to the court.
Ironically, Nihalani’s petition also relies upon the High Court’s order in case of the film Udta Punjab when makers of the film had to move court after CBFC led by Chairman Pahlaj Nihalani ordered over 80 cuts in the film.