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SC to hear Rajasthan, MP’s appeals against Padmaavat release

On January 18, the Supreme Court had stayed orders by four states banning Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat and paved the way for the film’s nationwide release.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2018 13:55 IST
PTI, New Delhi
Padmaavat,Padmaavat row,Rajput protests
Protesters shout slogans against the release of the Bollywood film "Padmaavat" near the office of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in Mumbai.(AP Photo)

The Supreme Court said on Monday it will hear appeals by the governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday to modify its order that allowed controversial Bollywood film Padmaavat to be released in theatres across India on January 25.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra agreed to hear their interim application against its January 18 order that stayed a ban on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film imposed by four states.

The ban was imposed by Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh despite the film being cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Haryana and Madhya Pradesh governments have not issued any formal order but stated they would not allow the exhibition of the film.

The states claimed that section 6 of the cinematograph act empowers them to stop the exhibition of any controversial movie on the grounds of possible violation of law and order.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Viacom 18 - the producers of the film starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in leading roles, opposed an urgent hearing.

The court, however, agreed to hear the applications on Tuesday.

Bhansali’s Rs 150-crore movie is based on Padmavat, a poem written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi about 500 years ago, which gives an account of a legendary Rajput queen of Chittor choosing to kill herself rather than be captured by invading Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji.

Historians are divided over whether the queen ever existed. Many Rajputs believe she did exist and accuse Bhansali of portraying her in a bad light – a charge denied by the filmmakers.

The movie has been facing violent protests particularly by the fringe group Shri Rajput Karni Sena, which has blamed the director and lead actors of insulting Rajputs and the community’s honour. Protesters have issued death threats against Bhansali and Padukone while alleging that the queen is shown romancing Khilji in the movie.

The film’s name was changed to Padmaavat as suggested by the CBFC, which recently cleared the film for release with a U/A certificate and a set of five modifications.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 11:00 IST