Pan Bahar saga continues. Here's the latest update.
Over the last 24 hours, there have been several reports about the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), a statutory body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, having banned Pan Bahar's infamous ad film featuring Pierce Brosnan.
DNA quoted Pahlaj Nihalani, chairman, CBFC, on the matter in a recent story. Subsequently, several publications carried similar stories about this 'ban'.
We decide to speak to Nihalani about the matter, to clarify whether advertising related matters fall under the purview of the CBFC at all. Over a phone call, he clarified that they don't. He said, "There is no question of banning or certifying pan masala or gutka related ads; we are not even going to accept the application to certify them."
Nihalani added, "TV broadcasters should not play ads about any such product without first receiving the proper certificate about what the product contains. There has to be a certificate from the health ministry stating that the product does not contain tobacco; that is not our domain or lookout. We have written letters to the ministry and are awaiting a response."
Recently, Pan Bahar issued a statement to the media claiming there is no tobacco or nicotine in the products marketed under the Pan Bahar brand.
Recently, Akhil Jain, CEO, Ashok & Co. Pan Bahar, told afaqs!, that the ad in question is for Pan Bahar the mouth freshener, while "the rule" forbids celebrities from endorsing pan masala. He was referring to ASCI's rule at the time.