Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Prasoon Joshi on Saturday reflected upon the controversy over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, and said nobody’s voice should be referred to as a “fringe voice”.
Joshi was at the News18 Rising India Summit where he spoke on creative freedom, especially in the light of the film Padmaavat, on Saturday. He shared the dais with Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani.
“No one’s voice should be called a fringe voice because it is demeaning. For many people, our voices, voices of people sitting comfortably in a five-star hotel and debating, could be considered fringe,” Joshi said.
“When it comes to metaphors like ‘Rajputi shaan’, there is a reason how metaphors come in. I don’t think the suspended reality is there.”
“In Padmaavat, we went on to understand it as humanly as possible and I believe an artiste does not want to hurt society. If concerns come, you have to take a call. We did so… Many suggestions happened, changes were made, the letter ‘i’ was removed from the title… There is a reason, a thought,” he added.
Joshi himself faced the ire of Rajput organisations opposing the release of Padmaavat as the censor board chief had given a clean chit to the historical drama after suggesting a few disclaimers and edits.
He says at the end, it was collectively decided with the filmmaker to “stay true to the poem Padmaavat, and so only little changes were demanded.
“I was disappointed with headlines like 400 cuts! Where did that come from? Why give air to such things and disrespect us? What do you have to explain? Media needs to do some introspection,” he added.
Padmaavat went through a tumultuous journey from the beginning of its shoot till its release and beyond over conjectures that it distorted historical facts.
Rajput organisation Shree Rajput Karni Sena was up in arms against the makers, and not just vandalised its sets twice and assaulted Bhansali, but also held major protests across the country opposing the film’s release.