Padmavati was supposed to be 2017’s mega release, yet another blockbuster from Bollywood’s Badshah of Baroque, Sanjay Leela Bhansali. However, in the face of mounting protests and the Central Board of Film Certification refusing to fast-track the film’s certification process, the Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor film is unlikely to release this year.
The makers of Sanjay Leela Bhansali film have now said that Padmavati’s release date will be decided only after the censor board’s go-ahead, according to a PTI report. The film starring Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji was earlier scheduled to release on December 1.
On Sunday, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind Padmavati, announced in a statement that they were voluntarily deferring the release of the film out of “respect and regard for the law of the land” including the Central Board of Film Certification.
They said a new release date will be announced once the “requisite clearances” are in place. Media reports have claimed that the film is now pushed till next year and the promotions have been put on hold.
The source from the production house, however, told PTI that no concrete decision has been reached yet. “We will decide the release date of the film after getting the certificate from the CBFC. We will wait for the censor board to give us clearance and then decide which is the best date for the release,” the source said.
CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi had yesterday said that the board should be given adequate time to come up with a balanced decision about the movie.
A source in the CBFC on Wednesday echoed Joshi’s views. “In CBFC, 68 days is the maximum time (to certify a film), it can be less also. We normally do it in a month or over a month’s time (certification). With a film like this, you need to be careful, take opinions, so it takes a little bit of time. It does not mean that nothing will happen before 68 days. If they (makers) want a certificate on time, it is advisable that they take this much time in consideration,” the source said.
The CBFC had initially returned the application to the makers of Padmavati, saying it was incomplete. The makers have re-applied. Joshi had said the makers didn’t clarify if the film was based on historical facts or a work of fiction.
The source said: “We have followed the normal process. Once the application comes to us, we scrutinise it. In this case, it was incomplete so we returned it. There was no disclaimer (that it is a work of fiction)… which is required for a film like this.”
“If the application is proper, we give them a date for the screening. We have an examining committee which will see the film. We will also have historical experts (for the screening of the film)… We are just following the procedure,” the source added.
When asked if the new application has been scrutinised, the source at the CBFC said, “No, it takes time as we have other films (to certify) as well and Padmavati is just one of them. We have a limited staff, we can’t just dump everything aside and concentrate on this. It will take the normal time.”
Meanwhile, the demand for a ban on the film for allegedly “distorting history” are getting shriller. A few states have already made their position clear that they will not allow the release of the film or will do so only after changes have been made in the film.
The film’s director and cast have reiterated that there is no distortion of history and the so-called dream sequence between Padmavati and Khilji doesn’t exist. A few mediapersons who watched the film have also said this but to no avail. Here is how the various states stand on Padmavati at present
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that insult to Padmavati “will not be tolerated” while addressing Rajputs at a meet. Banning the film, he said even if the movie is passed by the Censor Board for release in the country, it won’t make it to the screens in the state.
Chief minister Vasundhara Raje, in a letter to Union information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani on Saturday, had sought “necessary changes” in the movie before its release, so that the “sentiments of any community are not hurt”. The state home minister said the state is considering a ban on the movie within as per the legal framework and is seeking legal advice.
While holding Bhansali as guilty as the protesters for the Padmavati row, chief minister Yogi Adityanath said, “Nobody has the right to take the law into their hands. Be it Sanjay Leela Bhansali or anybody else. I feel that if those issuing threats are guilty, then Bhansali is no less guilty…who has got used to hurting public sentiments.”
The UP government had a few days ago written to the I&B minister requesting deferment in the release of the film, arguing that its resources were too stretched to maintain law and order in the wake of any possible violence.
Chief minister Amarinder Singh ruled out banning the film without watching it. “How can I seek or support a ban on the movie when I have not even watched it,” asked Amarinder, clarifying his earlier statement in which he had said if there had been any attempt to distort history, then protests against the same were justified.
“Nobody can be denied the right to disagree with others and protest peacefully in a civilised and democratic system, but nobody (neither an individual nor an organisation) has the right to threatens (sic) someone with whom he/she does not agree on any issue,” he said.
Promising a smooth release to Deepika Padukone-starrer, the state chief minister Mamata Banerjee twitted her displeasure over the controversy around Padmavati. “The #Padmavati controversy is not only unfortunate but also a calculated plan of a political party to destroy the freedom to express ourselves. We condemn this super emergency. All in the film industry must come together and protest in one voice,” she wrote on Monday.
Haryana health minister Anil Vij and industries and commerce and environment minister Vipul Goel wrote to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), seeking an immediate ban on the release and screening of the film.
“Nobody is allowed to distort history and wrongly present facts. This will not be tolerated. The movie has tried to tarnish the image of Rani Padmavati, who is a role model for women. How can they glorify a character like Khilji,” Goel said.