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Raje refuses to allow Padmavat in Rajasthan even after censor board nod

In a statement issued on Monday, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje said the movie maligned the dignity of the Rajput queen Padmini. The movie is expected to release on January 25.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2018 07:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Padmavat,Deepika Padukone,Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje at the CMO in Jaipur in December 2017. (Himanshu Vyas\ HT File Photo)

A new name and all-clear from the censor board are still not enough for Sanjay Leela Bansali’s period drama Padmavat to get a screening in Rajasthan.

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje said on Monday the Deepika Padukone-starrer, expected to release on January 25, would not be shown in cinemas in the state, even as the Rajput community demanded a nationwide ban on the film.

“Queen Padmini’s sacrifice is linked to the honour and pride of Rajasthan. Queen Padmini is not just a chapter in history but our pride and self-respect. We will not let her dignity be maligned,” she said in a statement.

Rajasthan was the epicentre of violent protests by the Rajput community against the alleged “distortion of history” in the film that was earlier named Padmavati after the Rajput queen whose place in history is disputed.

The Rajput community warned of opposing the BJP in the three by-polls to be held on January 29 and threatened to burn down movie halls if the film was not banned across the country film.

Padmavat will be released four days before polling for Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha seats and the Mandalgarh assembly segment. All the three seats have a significant Rajput presence and the BJP wouldn’t want to lose its traditional voters.

Deepika Padukone (right) plays the Rajput queen Padmavati in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial. Shahid Kapoor (left) co-stars in the film with Ranveer Singh.

On December 30, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) allowed the film’s release after asking the producers to change the title to ‘Padmavat’. It had also suggested modifications in the disclaimer of the film, making it clear that it did not glorify the practice of ‘sati’, and relevant changes in the song, Ghoomar.

Queen Padmini is considered by Rajputs as a symbol of the community’s tradition of putting honour above everything else.

A section of historians, however, doubt the existence of the queen and say she is a fictional character first portrayed in a 16th-century poem as having committed jauhar, the medieval practice in which female royals walked into funeral fires to embrace death over the dishonour of being taken captive.

Addressing a joint press conference in Jaipur on Monday, various Rajput outfits warned of violent protests if the film was released and said they would oppose the BJP in the bypolls.

Giriraj Singh Lotwara said the committee invited to see the film had unanimously rejected it. “Then why do they want to show the film? It indicated that there is some underhand deal between the censor board and the film-makers,” he said.

Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi of the Rashtriya Karni Sena, which led the protests, threatened to torch cinema halls. “Our organisation is active in 19 states. We will not let the film release,” he said.

State BJP chief Ashok Parnami said no tampering with history would be tolerated. But added if the censor board had removed objectionable content then there would be no opposition.

His Congress counterpart Sachin Pilot criticised the state government for mishandling the issue and said it was trying to gain political mileage. He said a middle ground should be found so that people’s sentiments were not hurt.

The film, which was to be released on December 1, has been renamed Padmavat after Malik Mohammed Jayasi’s epic poem and cleared by the censor board that asked the makers to change the title and suggested other modifications.

Though Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali didn’t release a statement, sources in the production house said the film would be release on January 25, a day before Republic Day.

“The film is releasing on January 25. There is no clarity when the official statement will be out regarding this,” sources in Viacom18 Motion Pictures told PTI.

First Published: Jan 08, 2018 21:15 IST