| Dev Anand with Heenee Kaushik, who debuts in Censor. (Reuters)
New Delhi, Sept. 18: From Anand to Anand, information and broadcasting ministers find little happiness.
Veteran thespian Dev Anand has refused an offer from the Union information and broadcasting minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, to be chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification, the long euphemism that stands for the censor board.
The actor-filmmaker, also known as Bollywood’s evergreen hero, is currently in the US, shooting, ironically, for a film that is tentatively titled Censor.
Prasad said Dev Anand has told him that his busy schedule would leave him with little time to take on the onerous responsibilities as chairman of the censor board. The octogenarian Dev Anand suggested that the minister would do better to find somebody younger and with time to spare. “It’s sad,” said Prasad. “We will now have to begin a new search.”
Prasad took the personal initiative to urge “my hero since childhood” Dev Anand to take on the responsibility. It is not unremarkable that the actor has a strong fan following in this government. During Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 1999 symbolic bus yatra to Lahore, Dev Anand was a co-passenger.
“I am tied up with my new project for at least the next six months,” Dev Anand is understood to have told Prasad.
In July last year, it was Prasad’s predecessor, Sushma Swaraj, who had a run-in with the then censor board chairman and Dev Anand’s brother Vijay Anand.
Vijay Anand had written a note to the minister, lending support to a demand from a section of the film industry to have separate cinema halls for adult movies. Vijay Anand is understood to have pointed out that this was the practice in several countries.
But Swaraj dismissed the proposal with remarks Vijay Anand found disparaging. A slighted Anand quit the post of censor board chairman. The seat has been lying vacant since.
Actresses Waheeda Rehman and Nanda and filmmaker Vijaya Mehta are being considered for the post.