The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has not suggested any cuts in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati, but has asked for five modifications for the movie to get a UA certificate, censor board chairperson Prasoon Joshi clarified on Saturday.
Uncertainty has been looming large over the movie’s release since a few months, but on Saturday, CBFC — following a examining committee meeting — said it has decided to give a UA certificate to the movie subject to modifications.
Setting the record straight, Joshi told IANS via email: “There are no cuts suggested in this film by CBFC, only five modifications.” He said they have asked the makers to change the disclaimer “clearly to one that does not claim historical accuracy”.
Regarding the film’s title Padmavati, Joshi said the discussed change is to change the title to Padmavat as the filmmakers have attributed their material/creative source to the fictional poem Padmavat and not history.
CBFC has also asked the makers to modify the song Ghoomar to make the depiction befitting the character being portrayed. That apart, they have demanded modification in the “incorrect/misleading reference to historical places”, Joshi said.
Additionally, they have asked the makers to “add a disclaimer which clearly makes the point that the film in no manner subscribes to the practice of Sati or seeks to glorify it”. Joshi said these suggested changes “are completely in agreement with the filmmakers — the producers and director of the film”.
Padmavati, backed by Viacom18 Motion Pictures, is directed by Bhansali and features Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapur in lead roles. The film, which was to release on December 1, has been embroiled in controversy over alleged distortion of facts regarding Rajput history, with Rajput outfits and some backed by the BJP, actively protesting its release.
A Parliamentary committee summoned Bhansali in November to resolve the issue, and the filmmaker had clarified that the “controversy over the film is based on rumours”. “I have not distorted facts. The film is based on a poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi,” referring to the 16th century Indian sufi poet’s epic poem Padmavat.
The CBFC then set up a special panel to watch the movie. The screening was held on December 28. Joshi was present along with the examining committee members and the special panel, which comprised Arvind Singh from Udaipur, Chandramani Singh and Professor K.K. Singh of the Jaipur University.
“A long discussion ensued post which the filmmakers were met as well. The members of the panel had insights and also some reservations regarding the claimed historical events and socio-cultural aspects which were duly discussed at length,” Joshi said.
He said a special panel was set up “considering the complexities and concerns around the film” and “to add perspective to the final decision of the CBFC official committee”.
Joshi said the filmmakers, Bhansali Productions, “in a written communication to CBFC had themselves too requested for a special panel of historians/academicians and members of the Rajput community to view the film”.
Having a special panel was not a new precedent set by CBFC. “(I) Can cite two examples; Aarkashan, wherein an eminent panel representing a concerned group was created and also in case of Jodhaa Akbar wherein historical experts were called in.”
Overall, Joshi said giving the movie UA certification “was an unprecedented and tough situation”.
“I am glad that following a balanced approach, we resolved the task at hand in a pragmatic and positive manner.”