The Uttar Pradesh government has asked the I&B Ministry to get the release of the movie Padmavati deferred in the state because “public anger” over the “script” and “distorted historical facts” in the film could lead to an “adverse effect” on the law-and-order situation. In a letter sent on Wednesday, UP Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar also said that the administration would be busy with counting of votes for the civic polls and ensuring arrangements for the Muslim festival Barawafat on December 1, when the movie is scheduled to release across the country.
In the letter, the UP government has asked the Ministry to get the censor board to take cognizance of these issues while taking a decision on granting a certificate to the film.
The letter, which was also copied to the CEO of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), comes a day after protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie turned violent in Rajasthan where members of the Karni Sena vandalised a cinema hall in Kota.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Arvind Kumar said, “I was told that the CBFC has yet to take a call on its certification. Hence, the state government wanted to share the intelligence inputs it received about reactions from various social organisations so that the CBFC takes cognizance of them while taking a decision. Also, the administration has prior engagements on December 1 for counting of votes for local body polls and Barawafat.” In the letter, Kumar wrote that “while movies based on facts, with positive stories, motivate and influence the society to move on the right path, movies with distorted historical facts, exaggeration, false and fictional stories create a vicious atmosphere in the nation and society, develop social hatred and generate serious challenges for law and order”.
The letter said, “In the past, there have been incidents when anarchy and the situation of law and order have emerged on a large scale due to such movies.”
Referring to the law-and-order situation, the letter stated, “Various social, cultural and other organisations have staged protests after the launch of the trailer on October 9, stating that the film has shown a ‘Ghoomar dance’ by Rani Padmavati and her love affair with Allauddin Khilji, which is not mentioned in any history book. Demanding to ban the screening of the film, these organisations have been giving strong reactions through demonstrations, sloganeering, processions, memorandum and torching effigies.”
The letter said that these organisations have demanded that those scenes, which show the character of Rani Padmavati in bad light, be removed from the movie. “These organisations have also warned of demonstrations with ruckus and arson in cinema halls if the movie is screened,” it said.
Pointing to the counting of votes for civic polls and the festival of Barawafat, it said, “In such an atmosphere, if this film is released in public in the same form in which its trailer was launched, a situation of unrest and law-and-order could happen on a large scale. In view of prior commitments of the administration due to the local body elections and Barawafat, release of the film on December 1 will not be in the interests of law and order.” Leaders of the BJP, which is ruling the state, have also opposed the film. The BJP MP from Aligarh, Satish Gautam, and three other party MLAs have written separate letters to Chief minister Yogi Adityanath demanding a ban on the film’s release in Aligarh.
BJP MLA from Chharra, Ravendra Pal Singh, said they have sent letters to the Chief Minister following the demand for a ban by the Kshatriya Mahasabha. Asked whether there was a possibility of protests after the movie’s release, Singh said, “It may happen.”
Koil MLA, Anil Parashar, said he had not watched the trailer but “received feedback from social organsiations that facts have been distorted which could hurt the sentiments of the public”.