Yogi Adityanath government writes to Centre to defer Padmavati’s release

Uttar Pradesh has joined eight other states that are also apprehensive of the film’s release on the account that it might trigger extreme reactions

lucknow Updated: Nov 16, 2017 17:09 IST
Padmavati,Sanjay Leela Bhansali,Yogi Adityanath
A demonstrator poses during a protest against the release of the upcoming Bollywood movie 'Padmavati' in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.(REUTERS)

Release of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial period film Padmavati might be deferred if not outrightly banned in Uttar Pradesh.

The Yogi Adityanath government, which was earlier preparing for the month-end release of the film, has now written to the union ministry of information and broadcasting to consider deferring it.

In a two-page missive to the the information and broadcasting secretary NK Sinha, UP’s principal secretary (home) Arvind Kumar has also suggested that the members of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) be apprised of the extreme sentiments involved among various social and cultural groups in the most populous state.

“Its December 1 release may not serve the interest of peace,” the state government has argued pointing out that the film’s release also coincides with declaration of UP civic poll results as well as Barawafat, making it difficult for the state government to make arrangements for the screening.

With this, UP has joined eight other states that are also apprehensive of the film’s release on the account that it might trigger extreme reactions.

Read More: Amid Padmavati row, SC says can’t put curbs on freedom of speech of filmmakers, writers

Though the Supreme Court had shot down a PIL seeking a ban on the film’s screening, the state government’s missive points out that the apex court had suggested that it was for CBFC to take a view on the issue – reason why the UP government has sought the centre’s push in bringing the issue to the notice of film certification board whose clearance is a must for a film’s release.

The film is yet to be cleared by CBFC and by requesting the union broadcasting ministry to apprise the CBFC members with the sentiments of the people, the state government has virtually sought a ban on the film – a demand made by Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha, the Rajput body which feels that the character of Rajput queen Padmavati has been negatively portrayed in the movie.

Several lawmakers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party – from Aligarh MP Satish Gautam to party MLAs Sanjeev Raja, Thakur Jaiveer Singh, Anil Parashar and Ravindra Pal Singh – have supported the Mahasabha demand and requested chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s intervention.

Read More | Padmavati: From Deepika Padukone’s Ghoomar to Khilji, 8 reasons why protesters are hopping mad

Worried over the mounting criticism, the UP’s home department has cited intelligence inputs about anger and threats against movie’s release as well as the fact that the release date coincides with declaration of UP civic poll results as well as Barawafat to defer the film release.

UP is apprehensive of two other films – Game of Ayodhya set for November 24 release and Muzaffarnagar – The Burning Love, a film set in the backdrop of the worst riots that broke out in west UP in 2013 – both due for release ahead of Padmavati.

But it’s Bhansali’s flick that has enraged passions. “It’s not just a kshatriya issue, it’s a Hindutva issue. We have grown up hearing stories of the valor of the Rajput queen who performed jauhar with 16000 women to protect Hindu pride. But the film reportedly shows the Rani’s character doing the Ghoomar dance and also hinting at an alleged affair with Alauddin Khilji. We won’t allow its screening,” Apna Dal MP and Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha chief Harivansh Singh told HT. Singh also plans to meet union information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani in Delhi on Thursday to press for the need to ban the film.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 17:09 IST