Samir Sattar

Padmavati Scheduled for Release After Controversial Ban

The world of cinema in the last century has paved its way into the very definition of modern art with beautiful cinematography, memorable dialogue and mesmerising scores.

Two of the leading film industries are Hollywood and Bollywood, with the latter said to release more than 1000 films a year, more than double than its former counterpart.

In recent years, production companies have come under trouble by both the Censorship Board and the general public because of “inappropriate” movies.

One of the best movies of 2016, Udta Punjab, was a black comedy crime drama focusing on drug prevention.

However, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and political fronts in Punjab, banned and delayed the film’s release everywhere for its representation of drug use in the state.

Hoards of extremists have gathered yet again fuelled by Political parties in recent months with the ban of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest epic, Padmavati.

The film is set in 1300s India and features a war between the Delhi Sultanate and the Kingdom of Chittor.

The Sultan had his eye on the Queen of Chittor, Padmavati, who is said to be so beautiful that the Sultan wanted her for himself and so proceeded to invade the opposing kingdom to get her.

On paper the movie sounds interesting, but met controversy for it's originally scheduled December 2017 release because many Rajput Hindus heard that there was a scene showing the Sultan dreaming of bedding the Queen.

This resulted in immense outrage worldwide in the Indian community from small right-wing Hindu groups because it allegedly displayed a relationship between a Muslim man and Hindu woman.

In India’s current Social, Political and Religious climate, this film supposedly ticked all the boxes for out roar as movie theatres were getting burned down, more friction had been created between Hindus and Muslims and Bhansali got smacked in the face by a protester.

The actress portraying Padmavati, Deepika Padukone, received death threats from Hindu extremists, threatening to chop her nose off.

A similar extremist group threatened to burn theatres in London should the UK decide to show the movie.

After a couple of months in delay, Padmavati is finally scheduled for a February 2018 release in Britain.

Mobs and political parties are still sour about the decision, but this means yet another victory to creative freedom.

I’m sure the film’s intent was not to offend any one whatsoever.

Yet many took the opinions of politicians and made it their own, creating havoc in the process.

For a country that has been independent for 70 years, it sure doesn’t feel independent.

Where is that rage and passion when the same politicians launder black money and create an even deeper divide?

As for the Censor Board, it is clearly broken and needs to be fixed.

CBFC would ban a historical epic yet they’d allow movies by former adult actress Sunny Leone play for weeks on the box office.

It’s hypocrisy on another level!

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