Director Hansal Mehta hit back at Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, who had called Hansal’s opposition to granting an A-certificate to Aligarh trailer a ‘cheap publicity stunt’. The director said he would rather ‘sell underwears on street than use Nihalani for publicity’.
Responding to Nihalani’s accusations, Hansal Mehta told IndianExpress.com, “These people find a very simplistic justification of any wrong that they commit. When they invade institutions like the Hyderabad university where a student has ended his life instead of addressing the students’ frustration, they are busy trying to prove that the he was not a Dalit. Similarly, here too instead of trying to look at why I am upset and what I am trying to address – they are instead saying I am resorting to cheap publicity. If that is so, then end my publicity spree by giving the film the certificate that it rightfully deserves. Also, if I had to derive publicity from Pahlaj Nihalani, then all the years I have spent making films would be nothing but a waste of time. I would rather sell underwear on streets than use Mr. Nihalani for publicity. ” (Also read: Aligarh controversy cheap publicity stunt by Hansal Mehta, says Censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani)
Hansal Mehta also stressed on the need to do away with censorship in the country. “The fossil has started decaying and censorship has to end. It has come to the point where old outdated guidelines almost harass and suppress freedom of expression especially when your expression deals with something so important.”
Commenting on Nihalani’s comments that homosexuality is a subject not suitable for teenagers, Hansal said, “Sexuality is something that young people grapple in today’s times. When the Examining Committee saw the film they were polite and nice and when they gave me an A certificate, I told them I need a U/A because it is very important for youngsters to watch this film and understand questions about their own sexuality so that they don’t reach a repressed state of mind later in their years.” (
For the moment, Hansal Mehta has decided to approach the Tribunal for redressing his grievance .