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Raje against Padmavat

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has finally cleared Padmavat directed by Sanjay Leela Bansali subject to a few modifications. The film is slated for release on January 25. The Rajasthan government has however decided not to allow the film to be screened in that state. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has said that the film, even after the changes, will hurt the dignity of Rani Padmini of Mewar. Her decision runs counter to the Constitution and the rule of law. Her statement does not recognise that the film is a deliberately confused work of art blending history with a 16th century Sufi text. The title has been changed from Padmavati to Padmavat in order to emphasize that the film is based on the work of Malik Mohammed Jayasi. Furthermore, violence has hit cinema owners and even the film director. Raje says that the film misrepresents Rani Padmini’s noble sacrifice even before the film has been screened. The Rajasthan government is of course showing disrespect to the CBFC, a statutory body empowered by the Cinematographic Act of 1952 which gives it the final say in such matters and it has the validation from the Supreme Court. The state government is infringing on the right.

A similar move was made by Mayawati when she was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about the film ‘Sanrakhshan’. The ban was however lifted later.  Vasundhara Raje is known to be a moderniser in the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is surprising that her attitude seems regressive, undermining free speech and abdicating constitutional responsibility.     

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