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Former Mewar royal urges PM to ban Padmaavat

Erstwhile royal of Mewar Mahendra Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, urging them to ban the movie ‘Padmaavat’.

jaipur Updated: Jan 20, 2018 21:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan news,Mewar royal,Padmaavat
Rajput organisations have been demanding ban on the screening of film 'Padmaavat' directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. (PTI File Photo)

Erstwhile royal of Mewar Mahendra Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, urging them to ban the movie ‘Padmaavat’.

The film, previously titled ‘Padmavati’, has been mired in controversies over conjectures that it distorts history regarding Rajput queen Padmini, a charge filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has denied.

Citing freedom of expression, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the release of ‘Padmaavat’ by lifting the ban imposed by four states on screening of the movie following protests from the Rajput community.

“The Supreme Court has commented on the artistic freedom in its judgement. It might be observed that the artistic freedom is not absolute even under the Constitution of India,” sates Singh’s letter.

“Artistic freedom cannot result in distortion of a heritage that is now also national heritage nor can it demean its dignity. If it does so, ‘artistic freedom’ is both anti-national and an attack on constitutional rights of private citizens.

“It stands to reason that in order to further commercial interests the Constitution of India cannot be rendered meaningless and unable to safeguard rights,” states the letter.

The former Mewar royal has criticised the role of authorities, particularly the Central Board of Film Certfication (CBFC), saying releasing the film will damage the social fabric of the country.

“At least one expert called on by the CBFC to view the film has gone on record pointing out not only distortions but also the inflammatory scenes and dialogues in the film and these threaten the existent harmony between faiths and within social groups,” the letter states.

“In these sensitive times permitting such release suggests the possibility of intentional inaction to either bring on explosive conditions or suit a plan of deliberate humiliation of a respected heritage.”

The letter states, “The objection is to commercialisation and misrepresentation of actual historical places, persons and events clearly identified with names used to provide stature to identify with the filmmakers fantasy.

It further states, “The situation that has now arisen could have been prevented had timely notice been taken of the conduct of the filmmakers and later the CBFC. The situation appears to be due to indecisiveness, intentional or otherwise, on the part of various authorities despite words of caution on several occasions.”

The former royal has also enclosed a letter written by his son on Thursday when the Supreme Court lifted the ban. His son MK Vishvaraj Singh asked CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi how he found time to certify the film when proceedings related to the film were going on in courts.

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 21:20 IST