Pahlaj Nihalani has been removed as chief of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and replaced by noted lyricist Prasoon Joshi, as per reports.

According to an ET Now tweet, Nihalani, whose tenure as CBFC chief was marred by controversy, was removed from his position on Friday.

Joshi, a Bollywood veteran and CEO of McCann World group India and Chairman (Asia Pacific), a subsidiary of global marketing firm McCann Erickson, is expected to be announced as his replacement.

During Nihalani’s tenure, the CBFC had issues with homosexuality (Unfreedom, Ka Bodyscapes, Aligarh), the word lesbian (Dum Laga Ke Haisha), the word intercourse (Jab Harry Met Sejal trailer) and the use of names of states in film (Udta Punjab, The Argumentative Indian). The Amartya Sen documentary was also asked to take out words “cow”, “Hindu” and “India”.



Films such as Fifty Shades of Grey were never released in India despite the producers agreeing to 70 cuts. A kissing scene from James Bond film Spectre was trimmed.

Films that got adults-only certificate and yet underwent cuts include Hansal Mehta’s critically-acclaimed Aligarh. One of the cuts actually showed Manoj Bajpayee dozing off in the courtroom that the CBFC thought was contempt of court. Lipstick Under My Burkha had to be re-edited before it was allowed release. After being deemed “fantasy above life” and “lady oriented”, the film underwent below cuts before it released with an adults-only certification.

Joshi, a Padma Shri awardee, received the National Film Award for Best Lyrics twice, for his work in Taare Zameen Par (2007), and Chittagong (2013). When contacted by HT, his assistant said an official statement will be made upon his return from New Delhi.