"Am glad that following a balanced approach we resolved the task at hand in a pragmatic and positive manner."
India’s Central Board of Film Certificate (CBFC) has finally cleared Padmavati, the historical drama. They have given it a U/A certification.
However, after troubling protests, they suggested some changes.
They recommended the title should be altered to ‘Padmavat’, explaining that the content derives from the epic poem, which has the same name. Instead of historical events.
In addition, the CBFC told producers to include a disclaimer. This would notify audiences that the movie doesn’t “claim historical accuracy”.
Reports claimed 26 cuts had also been made. However, the board’s chairman Prasoon Joshi stated:
“They must have counted the incorrect spellings of some locations for which changes have been suggested. There are no cuts, only modifications.”
Producers have also been suggested to make changes to the song ‘Ghoomar’ and avoid glorifying the practice of Sati.
The board revealed their decision on 30th December 2017. However, they called for 2 Rajasthan professors to support a panel review of Padmavati.
One of the academics, Agrawal College principal R S Khangarot told PTI: ” I got a call from (Prasoon) Joshi recently. He sought my opinion on the film as a part of a panel of historians.
“For me, this is not an issue between Bhansali and the Rajput community or between Bhansali and Karni Sena. I see it as an issue between the filmmaker and history and I will be reviewing the film in this light.”
His colleague B L Gupta, a retired professor from Rajasthan University, also emphasised he would judge it on “historic facts”.
After the movie’s clearance, Prasoon added: “This was an unprecedented and tough situation.
“Am glad that following a balanced approach we resolved the task at hand in a pragmatic and positive manner.”
He also explained that director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and producers are “completely in agreement” with the recommendations.
While some would argue these suggested changes are an attempt to appease the protests of Hindu and Rajput groups, many are displeased with the clearance.
Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi, the chief of Rajput Karni Sena made threats to vandalise cinemas that show the movie. He told ANI:
“The release of Padmavati is only going to create chaos in the country. The government would be responsible for any loss of life and property following the release of this movie. Every theatre, where this movie would be released would be vandalised.”
He also suggested the CBFC cleared the film due to pressure from Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian gangster. Karni Sena had previously alleged that the underworld criminal had funded Padmavati in November 2017.
Lokendra Singh Kalvi of the group said at the time: “I got three threat calls from international numbers — one from Karachi, which indicates Dawood’s money is involved… What is the interest of a man sitting in Karachi in bumping me off?”
The group’s president, Ajit Singh, also claimed the decision “has been taken in haste” and said: “Only a few cuts to the movie will not do justice to the history and legend of the person. We will continue our protests.”
Meanwhile, Bollywood fans have given their own thoughts on social media. In particular, they have made fun of the name change.
So Bhansali can now actually throw a party. Just that Whisky will be called 'Whiska' Vodka will be called 'Vodki' and so on.
— Anubhav Sinha (@anubhavsinha) December 30, 2017
If Padman picks up the ‘i’ that Padmavat drops, they’ll have to call it ‘Padmani’.
From the frying pan into the pyre. #Padmavati
— Apurva (@Apurvasrani) December 30, 2017
However, some have also expressed their dismay. For example, actor Renuka Shahane believed it could be a game changer for film certification, saying:
The "I" of the storm has passed. CBFC changes the name of "Padmavati" to "Padmavat" and passes the film with a U/A certificate. Thereby nobody will have any issue and nobody's sentiments will be hurt. Name changing is game changing I must say!!!
— Renuka Shahane (@renukash) December 30, 2017
With the film now cleared and certified, producers are likely to make the modifications. But judging from reactions, this appears to cause more upset than anticipated.
With groups still vowing to protest, it appears the controversy will continue. As many will wait to hear news of a potential release date, the situation remains uncertain and challenging as before.