In less than a month after Pahlaj Nihalani was sacked as India’s film censor board chief, he has come on board to market and distribute erotic thriller “Julie 2”. As its titillating trailer was launched here on Monday, he defended it as an “adult family entertainer” which reveals the reality of the film industry, even as the Twitterati laughed away at the irony of the ‘sanskaari citizen’.
But as Nihalani puts it, “If you cannot digest the film, I will give you a digestive tablet.”
Nihalani was ousted as the chief of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) over his controversial diktats of suggesting cuts and beeps film after film, just last month. He was replaced by writer and ad man Prasoon Joshi.
At the trailer launch of “Julie 2”, a sequel to the 2004 film “Julie”, Nihalani had to field some tough questions from the media, given how the rushes feature lead actress Raai Laxmi stripping away.
Considering that the film tells the journey of a lady who is exploited by the film industry, and is quite lady-oriented in its theme, asked what rating is he expecting from the CBFC and how many cuts, Nihalani said: “I know where the question is coming from… There is no burkha in the film, and people will be able to relate to the story of the film.
“You haven’t watched the film, so watch it to judge it. Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
His comment was a dig at “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, which he had refused to certify as he deemed it too “lady-oriented”.
While he had issues with the word “intercourse” in a mini trailer of “Jab Harry Met Sejal” and even demanded cuts in kissing scenes in films as the CBFC chief, the trailer of “Julie 2” he presents goes all out focussing on skin show.
Reminded of that, Nihalani retorted at the media meet here: “That was U/A (unrestricted public exhibition, subject to parental guidance for children below the age of twelve). This is adult.”
“I am no more…. I am not there on CBFC, so don’t question me for CBFC,” he said loud and clear.
“Julie 2” seems to be riding high on Nihalani’s name. Even though he is only presenting the movie, his name features prominently in the poster and trailer.
The event here began with showcasing of the film’s teaser, followed by a live musical performance with girls dancing in skimpy clothes in the background, and then the trailer was launched.
The film deals with the story of a girl who wants to become an actress and a superstar, and how she compromises to get work. The trailer shows lip locks, nudity and bold scenes and suggestive dialogues. In one scene, the girl removes her clothes and tells an elderly man, “Sir, I am sure you will not just make me a star, but a superstar.’
Asked how he can support a film like this, being a ‘sanskaari’ man, Nihalani said: “I am not associated with CBFC, so do not ask me anything to do with that. As a filmmaker, I supported the film because it is a real story, it is an adult family entertainer. I have no problem with A certification. But this is not the platform for discussing my past. If you cannot digest the film, I will give you a digestive tablet.”
Ad man Suhel Seth has been expressive about his reaction to Nihalani’s association with “Julie 2”, the poster of which reads: “Exposing October 6”.
“Pahlaj Nihalani is back with a Sanskari film. Am delighted that the Censor Board relieved Pahlaj Nihalani of the burdens of office so that he could give us ‘Julie 2’. A cinematic masterpiece will be ‘exposed’ on October 6 by the legendary film-maker of our times, Pahlaj Nihalani. Espousing Indian culture,” Seth tweeted.
Director Abhishek Kapoor tweeted: “Whaaatt… Pahlaj Nihalani ko rok sako toh rok lo.”
“Julie 2” talks about the casting couch.
Raai Laxmi, who has acted in 49 south Indian films before making her Bollywood debut with “Julie 2”, said: “We all face such things in the professional life. Though my entry in the film was quite easy, even I faced something… The film talks about how one handles it when faced with such a situation.”