MIB petitioned on pre-censorship of period cinematic content

NEW DELHI: If a fringe group from Rajasthan has its way, then period cinematic dramas may face pre-censorship, which sooner or later could also lead to government interventions for TV content that still doesn’t face much content regulations and pre-screening vetting.

Rajasthan’s Karni Sena wants pre- censorship of period films and plans to approach the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) in this regard. It had recently protested against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's period film `Padmavati’ accusing him of presenting "distorted facts", according to a PTI report.

"We are asking the I&B ministry about the pre-censorship of historic films. We are also hoping for some support from producer and director associations and in fact they are ready to give their support,” the PTI report quoted Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi as stating.

Karni Sena had stalled the shooting of the Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone starrer by vandalising the set at the Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur in the northern state of Rajasthan and also assaulted director Bhansali. The acts weren’t strongly condemned by either the State or the Central governments and MIB minister M. Venkaiah Naidu had made some vague statements about freedom of expression in seemingly limp support of the film industry.

"Our demands have been fulfilled by them (the film-makers of `Padmavati’). They have promised that they won't show any kind of personal rapport between the actors in the movie (Rajput queen Padmavati and the then Muslim ruler in Delhi Allauddin Khilji)," Kalvi told PTI.

According to the report, Kalvi said his group will also try to hold discussion over pre-screening of all historic films to journalists and historians so there was “no distortion of history."

TV and film industry observers opined that if the government capitulated to such pre-censorship of demands regarding films, it would be just a matter of time when similar demands would be made of historical and period serials aired on TV channels, the number of which are increasing on GECs.

Incidentally, the film `Padmavati’ is based on `Padmavat’, a celebrated fictional ballad written in the Awadhi dialect of Hindi by 16th-century Indian Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. The plot revolved around the beautiful queen Padmavati, originally hailing from Sri Lanka, who married a Rajput prince and came to the then India that was made up of a plethora of independent and princely states and had to commit suicide by jumping into a pyre to save her honour from the Muslim ruler of Delhi Khilji who got besotted by her reported beauty and annihilated her husband’s kingdom.

As some critics have said, fiction is being turned into history in the 21st century India and artistic creativity was being stifled.

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