Here’s an insider account of how CBFC cleared Padmaavat while ignoring objections



Can Padmaavat trigger communal disharmony? At least one CBFC committee member thinks so.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama is all set to be released on January 25 after getting five cuts and a U/A certificate. Even the Supreme Court has recently struck down the ban imposed on the film by multiple states.

The central board of film certification attracted irk for the first time when it ignored its first special panel of historians, experts and quickly formed another three-member committee to watch the film and share its opinion.

On December 28, a special screening of the film surrounded by controversy was arranged by CBFC for historians-Prof Kapil Kumar, Dr. Chandramani Singh, Arvind Singh (descendants of Padmavati, Mewar’s clan) along with other members of the film certification board.

While interacting with journalists, Professor Kapil Kumar shared his opinion that there cannot be something like historical fiction and the film has something more than factual inaccuracies. Some dialogues and scenes in the movie are absurd; they can trigger disharmony in the society. A fictional story has been created around historical events and characters. This distortion can inflame people. When the next generation would use the internet to find information on Rani Padmini, they would probably end up watching this film and consider its story as history.



“Ratan Singh, Alauddin Khalji, Malik Kafur, and Chittor are linked with history. As a historian, I am not specifically commenting on one character, all of them have been shown incorrectly. Khalji’s queen has been portrayed as an innocent victim who helps Ratan Singh to escape from Khalji’s clutches. After killing people, Alauddin Khalji starts dancing like a fool. There cannot be a fictional history. Thus, I had recommended 28 cuts in the film and suggested the film should be presented as a Masala film by removing the names of historical characters and re-dubbing,” said Kapil Kumar who also happens to be IGNOU Delhi’s history department head.

“After watching the special screening, we discussed our points with Prasoon Joshi and other members.  We did not watch the film with Bhansali or his representatives. They were called in only after we left the censor board office on the day of screening. On the next day, Arvind Singh and I submitted our views in writing. As I was receiving a lot of calls from journalists, I called up the CBFC chief for clarification. He asked me to wait for two hours. Then, suddenly I got to know from TV channels that the film has been cleared with five cuts. Joshi did not answer my calls after that. It seems, the board did not consider our views,” Kumar pointed out while expressing disagreement on the way film was cleared.

The CBFC had asked the IGNOU professor to stay at one hotel on the screening day. The board was to pay for the accommodation and food. But unfortunately, when the professor was leaving the hotel, he was asked to pay all the charges without asking any questions.

Several states are expected to approach the SC once again with review petition. Perhaps, the states should appoint an experienced attorney to represent them in front of Harish Salve who is representing the producers. The lawyers representing the states should also consider taking Kapil Kumar’s opinion.

Meanwhile, Saif Ali Khan has jumped in into the Padmaavat debate. He believes, if a filmmaker is portraying a queen, he has no right to draw an inaccurate picture. It will be safer if he does not refer to that character as the queen.

“Tomorrow, if someone makes a film on my late father, I might feel offended if someone portrays him incorrectly,” said Khan while sharing his opinion on the matter.

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