A couple of days ago, we learnt about how Censor Board has a problem with one particular scene in Phillauri, where Suraj Sharma’s character is reciting Hanuman Chalisa. At that time, I thought the problem was with the usage of the mantra, but then I was confounded too. Wasn’t Hanuman chalisa used in quite a few movies before, notably Vikram Bhatt’s 1920, Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Emraan Hashmi’s Raaz Reboot? So what’s the issue with Hanuman Chalisa being used in a movie that has friendly ghost for a change? Well, if you learn the real reason why Censor Board wanted the makers to mute the mantra in Phillauri, you will shake your disbelief. Like always…

Let me give you a brief about the scene first. When Suraj Sharma’s character, Kanan, tries to run away from the ghost of Anushka Sharma’s Shashi (before knowing that she is harmless), he falls into a bathtub. Drenched in water, he is supposed to mutter Hanuman Chalisa (which is muted, and then he sings some other song) as Shashi hovers around him. Got the scene? Now learn why Pahlaj Nihalani and his team had an issue with this Phillauri scene – Hanuman Chalisa didn’t drive Shashi away! Yes, that’s what must have bothered the Censor Board. Instead of taking the movie’s light tone in its stride, the Board was angered over the 100 % effective Hanuman Chalisa (ISI marked by Vikram Bhatt) was ‘falsely’ shown as ineffective against a simple, friendly spirit.

Earlier CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani spoke to DNA over the issue. He said, “In my opinion it’s not the CBFC’s job to sit in judgment on the content of a film. We can only make amends in the presentation of the content. Not propagating superstition and blind faith falls in the jurisdiction of the state government. If we sat judgement over films on ghosts then we’d have to question why classics like Mahal, Gumnam, Woh Kaun Thi and Lekin were passed.”

Well, what can we say, Mr Nihalani? You find new and innovative ways to surprise us!