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‘Why mention real names if Padmavati is fictional?’ CBFC to Bhansali

Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshi on Thursday told a parliamentary panel that the controversial film Padmavati will be certified and released after it’s vetted by historians

india Updated: Nov 30, 2017 23:36 IST
Padmavati,Sanjay Leela Bhansali,CBFC
Akhil Bharatiya Chatra Maha Yuba protest march aganist the release and ban of Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed Bollywood film 'Padmavati', in Lucknow, India, on Thursday, November 30, 2017.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshi on Thursday told a parliamentary panel that the controversial film Padmavati will be certified and released after it’s vetted by historians, even as filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali said the movie was based on a ‘fictional’ theme.

Bhansali faced irked members of the panel on information technology, who wanted to know why he held a special screening for select media personnel when the film is yet to be cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Bhansali maintained that he had no other option and wanted to spread the message that there was nothing wrong in the film. Joshi alleged that Bhansali tried to undermine the board’s importance. Anurag Thakur, chairman of the panel, asked Bhansali why he appeared before them if he wanted the press to certify his film.

When Bhansali said he was already suffering financial loss and the film was due for release in 60 countries, panel members asked if he was trying to do business on an emotional issue.

Joshi, along with Bhansali, was also asked to submit their responses before the Petitions Committee of Lok Sabha after two BJP MPs, Om Birla and CP Joshi, complained against the film and sought a ban on its release, alleging that the film ‘distorts history’. The two also appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology, where the controversy surrounding the film was also discussed.

Joshi is learnt to have told the panel that he has requested the information and broadcasting ministry, under which the CBFC is an autonomous body, to provide it with a list of experts who can vet the content of the movie.

Sources said the CBFC chief and the committee demanded to know why Bhansali used ‘real names’ in the movie if it was based on a fictional theme. They also asked the filmmakers why they had not specified that the move was based on a fictional theme and characters while submitting it for certification. Later, Thakur said in a statement: “A movie is meant for entertainment, not for creating a tensed atmosphere across the country. This meeting has been called upon to discuss all these issues at length, bring all the relevant stakeholders at a common platform to eventually reach a consensus.” Among the questions that the lawmakers asked the CBFC chief were if the trailers of the film, which are appearing on television, have been approved by the Censor Board and if
the controversy surrounding
the film could have been intentional.

CBFC representatives also pointed out that the filmmakers had submitted the application for certification on November 11 and announced December 1 as the date of release.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 23:07 IST