Petition challenging films release had said ‘Padmavati’ distorts historical facts, Deepika Padukone’s ‘thumkas’ in the Ghoomar song hurt sentiments of Rajputs
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, refused to stay the release of Deepika Padukone starrer ‘Padmavati’ over which the Allahabad High Court also declined to entertain a plea seeking a ban of the big-budget film produced and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
The period drama, which also stars Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, in lead roles is due to be released on December 1.
An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to entertain a plea seeking a stay of the release of the film after it enquired at the outset as to whether or not the Censor Board had issued a certification for the movie.
“Has the film been placed before the Censor Board? Has the Censor Board certified the film,” the Bench, which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, asked from the counsel for the petitioners.
On being intimated that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was yet to certify the movie, the Bench said, “this court should not exercise its writ jurisdiction in such situation.” The Bench observed that since the CBFC has not yet certified the film, the court has no jurisdiction to entertain this matter as a writ petition under Article 32.
The top court said that there were several guidelines for the CBFC in granting certification to a movie and moreover, there is the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) which is mandated to look into grievances regarding a film.
The Bench was hearing a plea filed by Siddharajsinh Mahavirsinh Chudasama and 11 others against the film which was filed through counsel Somesh Chandra Jha
Besides seeking a stay on the release of the movie, the plea had also sought setting up of a committee of eminent historians to check the veracity of the script to prevent any inaccuracy in portrayal of Rani Padmavati.
It was also contended that the film be not allowed to be released till such time any historical inaccuracies in the movie are corrected by the producer and the director. Jha argued in the petition that the film’s producers had “not cared about out rich cultural history” and had “indulged in character assassination of Sati Rani Padmavati… she has been shown as a degenerate woman and an admirer of a lecherous foreign invader”.
The plea noted that the movie distorted the events during the 13th century historical battle between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi and the siege of Chittor.
The petitioners also made some rather outlandish claims, stating that the ‘Ghoomar’ song in the film featuring Deepika Padukone – teasers of which have gone viral ever since its release, making the song a chartbuster – had “hurt sentiments of the Rajput community” because of the “thumkas (hip movement) and the revelation of skin by Ms Padukone in her portrayal of Padmavati.”
Counsel Jha also argued that Padmavati enjoyed the stature of a goddess in the Rajput community and that her portrayal in the movie “could lead to law and order problems as no Indian would tolerate incorrect portrayal” of the legendary queen.
Living up to his reputation of making absolutely bizarre and outlandish allegations, Swamy claimed that the movie was part of an “international conspiracy” planned by Dubai-based people to show “Muslim kings in India as heroes and defame Hindu women”. The Rajya Sabha MP also demanded an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate into the financial dealings of Sanjay Leela Bhansali to find out the source of his income through which he was funding the production of films like Padmavati.
Meanwhile, in Lucknow, a division bench of the Allahabad High Court asked a petitioner, seeking a ban on the movie “Padmavati” on the ground that it allegedly propagates the practice of ‘Sati’, to approach the Censor Board with his plea. Sati is a practice whereby a widow threw herself on to her husband’s funeral pyre.