Pahlaj Nihalani has responded to news of his sacking with characteristic belligerence. The former Central Board of Film Certification chairperson told the Economic Times newspaper after he was replaced by Prasoon Joshi, “Censorship was necessary and doing away with it would mean filmmakers will resort to showing pornography and vulgarity even in normal films…The more you show vulgarity and obscenity in films, more such incidents will increase in society.”

Censorship was needed not just in movies, but also for television serials and the internet, Nihalani added. He claimed that he learnt from the media about his ouster, and that “ninety eight per cent of the producers” were happy with his work. “…for two percent of producers, today is Diwali,” Nihalani told ET. “They must be finally rejoicing that everything wrong that I was fighting against might be back.”

In another interview to IANS, Nihalani claimed that he had been preparing for his ouster for several months. “Actually, from the time I came in there have been elements working against me, some of them from within the CBFC,” he told the news service. “These elements – I’m not going to name them on-record are currently celebrating premature Diwali.”

He hoped that Joshi would not “reverse the work” he had started at the censor board. “I just hope my successor doesn’t succumb to false notions of liberalism propagated by the pseudo-progressive elements in our film industry and work in a direction opposed to mine.”

Nihalani claimed that he was proud to be known as the censor board chairperson who “took a firm stand against vulgarity and pseudo-liberalism” even though it made him unpopular. He said that he would be returning to film production: “I will soon be announcing a slew of films.”