After calling himself the best judge of intentions behind kisses, Pahlaj Nihalani is now defending his decision to clear a nude shot of Ranveer Singh’s posterior in Befikre. Talking to DNA, the CBFC chief said “We shortened Ranveer Singh’s butt shot quite a lot. Right now it’s just a glimpse, no more. What’s wrong with it? He is alone with his girlfriend in a room. They are doing what couples do when they are alone. Why is a butt shot objectionable? We’ve allowed butt shots in some recent Hollywood films. Also in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Jail.”
This is the same person who decided that the the length of the kisses in James Bond’s film Spectre was “too excessive” and hence cut them short by 50%. When lambasted across social media for this, Nihalani responded with, “This means you want to do sex in your house with your door open. And show to people the way you are doing sex.”
Now the CBFC chief has cleared Befikre, which has 23 kisses, with a U/A certificate. But there is a good reason. Nihalani pointed out, “We have to keep in mind that the romance is set in Paris where kissing is a common way of greeting one another.” He further said that he had made his decision after judging the intentions behind the kisses. He said, “See, unlike Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Spectre or Tamasha where the kisses were done in lengthy shots, in Befikre the kisses are scattered and largely fleeting and all over the place. They are done as part of the narration. I am a filmmaker myself. I know what can be cut without hampering the flow of the narrative. In Befikre there is no way we could cut the kisses without interrupting the flow of the story. Aditya Chopra has treated the kisses as part of the story. If we removed the kisses we’d be hampering the storytelling.”
It’s possible that Nihalani is trying to revamp his image after all those sanskari–bhakt accusations. Or perhaps his judgement needs a little buttressing.