Padmavati and my open letter to beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister I&B Smriti Irani, & CBFC Chief Prasoon Joshi

 

A Rajput queen performing ghoomer is not the problem here, it’s Allauddin Khilji’s heavily underlined anti-Hero and passionate-lover portrayal in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati that makes it UNCERTIFIABLE by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

 

Yes. If one stays true to CBFC guidelines, Padmavati is uncertifiable prima facie.

 

It’s not that the Indian film industry has not made films on this subject in the past. There are a number of films made in various Indian languages including Tamil. For instance, Chittor Rani Padmini is a 1963 Tamil feature film directed by Narayana Murthy. The film starred Sivaji Ganesan and Vyjayanthimala in the lead. Now, have a look at the film’s poster: -

 

 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chittoor_Rani_Padmini

 

It does not highlight Khilji. The two protagonists of the film are Padmini and Rana Ratan Singh. And that’s what makes the big difference.

 

Now, contrast this with Bhansali’s Padmavati. It’s a triangular love story of Chittor’s king, Rana Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), his queen Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) &  purportedly a love and lust driven extremely powerful Islamist emperor Allauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh). The film exalts the character of Khilji as the main protagonist of the film while presents Rana Ratan Singh as a kind of chikna-chupda boring character.

 

 

It grossly misrepresents the history of Islamist marauders. They were not lovers. They didn’t fill their harems and took sex slaves because they appreciated beauty. They did it to further demoralize and humiliate the conquered and broadcast the supremacy of Islam widely.

Dishonoring the women of a conquered race was the ultimate and indelible insult and humiliation that remains imprinted on the communal psyche of the race for centuries. It gets unbearably painful when a lowlife Bollywood FILMFAKER trivializes it in the name of his freedom of artistic expression. Yes, Bhansali is a filmfaker. Nearly all his films, barring a few, are third-rate gaudy remakes of Hollywood and old Indian films.     

Bhansali presents Khilji as a villainous beast in a likeable sort of way. The character is subtly designed to win admiration and even the sympathy of the audience. It’s a dream role for an actor.  He is exactly the kind of iconoclast ISIS recruits and Islamist zombies driven by their cheap hateful dream of Islamist supremacy will look up to. He is like Shahrukh Khan in Darr and Robert de Nero in Cape Fear, the villainous protagonists of the respective films.

 

 

 

 

It’s this kind of subliminal romanticizing of a vile character that gets the back up of those who look at queen Padmavati as a goddess. It’s an insult to the memory of a Hindu and Indian icon as important as Maharana Pratap, Shiva Ji, Jhansi Ki Rani, Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Nehru, Ambedkar, or even Bal Thakre and Kanshiram for that matter. I don’t think the Government of India will let these icons be portrayed in bad light by any filmmaker in the name of Freedom of Expression without inviting extremely violent outrage of their cohorts.   

In fact Maharani Padmavati is as revered and sacred an icon for Hindus as Mohammed and Aayesha for Muslims, and Jesus and Mary for Christians. She is deified, there are temples in her name and she represents the epitome of Rajput and Kshatriya credo of ‘honor over life’; if your honor is lost, it’s a life worse than hell and a thousand deaths. Her memory and life is still held sacred by crores of Indians. 

 

The other point of outrage is why only Hindu icons are so carelessly defiled or used as the butt of joke by Bollywood filmfakers and plagiarizers? Is it because Hindus take such shit lightly and are a tolerant lot? It’s bizarre that the same Hindus are also blamed for growing intolerance in society since they are not ready to take shit any more.

The past precedent points out that various Indian governments have shown extra-ordinary alertness in banning literature, art, and films that go against the commonly held belief about our nationally revered icons. There are hundreds of examples that can be given here including that of the banning of The Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie. India was the first nation to ban the book.

 

The CBFC refused to certify films on Gandhi that were based on his autobiography ‘My Experiments with Truth’ and depicted his seemingly bizarre and cringe worthy ‘bramhcharya’ experiments.

About 4 years ago a book on Gandhi that dwelt on his homosexual relationship with Hermann Kallenbach was promptly banned by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and our present Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. This was the first time in the history of India when a BJP CM had banned a book. It’s a common pratice for Congress and Communist government to proscribe films and books. Even today, in the leftist bastions you cannot get away by portraying Marx, Lenin, and Mao in negative light in a film. NaMo probably banned the book because he didn’t want to give Congress an opportunity to call him a Gandhi hating Sanghi.

In view of what’s said above, the Government of India and the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting must tell CBFC to strictly adhere to its guidelines while examining the film for certification. The CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi must also follow the international norm and ensure that the CBFC examining panel for the film does not have any person related to the film industry and they should be people of high integrity. As per the feedback I have received, sleaze is back in the certification process. You can buy the desired certificate by using money and influence like the way it used to be when Leela Samson headed it and people like Mahesh Bhatt acted as the super boss of CBFC.

 

CBFC must not suggest changes and cuts in the film under any circumstances. It should either certify or not certify the film. In fact, the filmmaker should not even be present at the preview theatre. That itself vitiates the examining process and gives rise to influence peddling and canvassing. 

@khulkebolo @neelnabh

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