On a day the Supreme Court came down heavily on people holding public office for commenting on “Padmavati” before the CBFC certifying the film, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said director Sanjay Leela Bhansali should clarify his stand on the controversy and that the historical drama won’t be released in the state until that happens.
The JD(U) chief is the fifth CM after Yogi Adityanath (UP), Vijay Rupani (Gujarat), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan) – all BJP-ruled states – to speak out against the period film’s release. The film, which was supposed to release on December 1, has been deferred by producers Viacom 18. Gujarat, MP and UP have banned the film’s release citing “distortion of history”.
“As people from several quarters have been raising questions on Padmavati, the director of the film should clarify his stand. Till then, the film will not be shown in Bihar,” Kumar said. The CM, whose party is in an alliance with BJP in the state, said Rani Padmavati (played by Deepika Padukone) should not have been made to dance in the film.
Seconding the CM’s views, Bihar art, culture, sports and youth minister Krishna Kumar Rishi said, “Until and unless objectionable scenes are not removed from Padmavati, we will not allow it to be released in the state.”
Citing the law and order situation, Gujarat was the first state to issue a notification banning the release of the film. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, recently, accused Bhansali of playing with public sentiments and ruled out releasing the magnum opus in the state unless “objectionable” scenes were deleted. Last week, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, after holding an audience with various Rajput groups, declared that he would prevent the film from releasing in the state and accused the director of “distorting history”.
Earlier in the day, dismissing a fresh plea seeking a stay on the release of Padmavati, the Supreme Court said statements by people holding public office were tantamount to pre-judging a film even before certification by the censor board. The bench made the observations while hearing a plea filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma.
“When the matter is pending for CBFC’s consideration, how can people holding public offices comment on whether CBFC should issue a certificate or not? It’ll prejudice decision making of CBFC…All concerned people, holding responsible posts must be guided by rule of law and shouldn’t venture into passing comments on films which haven’t been cleared by CBFC,” a Supreme Court bench observed.