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Row over Padmavati and the Supreme Court's recent verdict
I can't recall the exact date or time of the mehfil (meeting) but it was soon after the screening of Kamal Amrohi's period film 'Razia Sultan'. Kamal Saheb, veteran actor Sohrab Modi and Khayyam Saheb were expressing their views.

It was a gathering rich with the presence of the greatestlegends of Indian film industry. Every word spoken therewas like a pearl of literature. Let me reproduce here what was the collective opinion of these giants of Bollywood about the Indian film industry and Indian history.

"Indian history hasseveral characters that could be shown on silver screen but nothing sells except a few. There is a problem or genuine facts and language without which we have to mix fiction into it and the other complex issue is the new-found prejudices that limit the scope of new narratives.The creativity is to be compromised to balm over the bruised sensitivities of different segments of society. It seems the romantic side of Razia was known but didn't find wide acceptance."

"Razia Sultan" was released in 1983. It is the fag end of 2017. In the run up of Gujarat election where so much is at stake for the BJP and Congress, the innocent masses are made the cat's paw to steal the victory. The controversy about the character of Padmavati is a ruse to digress the issues rising out of the failures of GST implementation that needs the change in quality and quantity of dosage every day like a patient in the ICU and deleterious effects of demonetisation on Indian economy must be put on the back burners. Masses are to be sent to emotional journey where they fight their pampered honour and egos among themselves forgetting about the absence of employment, rising prices of everyday needs and broken promises.

The irony or the beauty of the present conflagration is that every party engaged in this fracas is winning if we discount the Congress party and what is being hurt is the soul of art and creativity. The film has already got undue publicity, some new faces have appeared like nova at the national stage with the offers of crores of rupees as bounties to behead the director and actors of the film and BJP is sure to add new voters to its kitty. The RSS / BJP juggernaut could willfully distort the history without solid evidence and manufacture the new one to serve its divisive agenda.

The revised textbook of Rajasthan says that Akbar lost the Battle of Haldighati to Maharana Pratap, even though historians have established that it was the Mughal emperor who defeated the Rajput king in 1576. To fool the masses, the new text claims VD Savarkar was a champion of the independence movement, sidelining Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. While the reality is that Savarkar had a limited role in the freedom struggle and he ended up begging the British to release him from prison.

The Maharashtra government has removed chapters on the Mughal emperors and the Delhi Sultanate from class VIII textbook, with no mention of the monuments they built. The list is long and will escalate as the time passes. In September 2017, Dinesh Sharma, the Deputy Chief Minister of UP, said the state's syllabus would reflect that "Mughal rulers were not our ancestors but looters."

Our beloved Prime Minister had enlightened us when he was the Mukhya Mantri of Gujarat about the Ganesha's head and other imagined achievements of ancient India. Before the general elections in 2014, Modiji had claimed that Biharis defeated Alexander the Great and that Takshashila was in Bihar (it is now in Pakistan).

"Padmavati" is a windfall for these saffronites. While most of the hirelings of Saffron Brigade are offering bounties to decimate the filmmakers of Padmavati, its governments in states are warning about the adverse consequences if the film is released in its present narrative.

As an Urdu couplet goes:

"Saheb chiptey bhee naheen samney aatey bhee naheen,

kaisa purdah hai ke chilaman se lagey baithey hain."

(Neither you disappear from the scene nor you come forward, what a deception that you're sitting hidden behind the curtain.)

On vocal outfit, Shri Rajput Karni Sena, the fringe group of RSS ideology is leading a violent agitation against the multi-crore movie without even watching it. The objection is about an alleged romantic dream sequence between the Rajput queen and the Muslim Sultan Alauddin Khilji. The director of the film, Bhansali says that there is no romantic dream sequence in the film.

However, to cut short this pre-election brouhaha short, a three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, categorically stated on Monday that the Supreme Court cannot stop a statutory body like the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) from doing its statutory duty of certifying a film by "prematurely" ordering a stay on its release.

The honourable court has dismissed yet another plea to stay the release of a movie and demanding criminal prosecution against its director. Referring to the repeated pleas filed before it for stay on the film even before the CBFC has certified it, Chief Justice Misra said, "All this happens because people do not read the Cinematograph Act and rules."

"Five members see a movie. Once they see it, they discuss among themselves and suggest cuts. Before they do anything, they give the filmmakers an opportunity to be heard to convince them not to cut the scenes in question," Chief Justice explained.

The court indicated that in case of any grievance, there is the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. It concluded that "our interference will tantamount to pre-judging the matter."

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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