Open Letter: Hey CBFC, Thanks For Standing With ‘Padmaavat’ (Not)
“You had me at hello”.
Sorry, sorry, I am going a little overboard here in attempting to make an example of my film-crazedness, but I suppose you can see right through my sycophancy. I will desist – and just say hello.
I am a filmmaker – a struggling one, at any rate (Gosh, that does sound romantic, doesn’t it?) But hopefully, I shall meet you soon before I hit “a theatre near you”. Haha. I mean, of course, make a film that I am proud of, have the money and the backing to make it and bring it to you – knowing fully well that you will honour each of those things.
I mean, take a look at what you did with my hopefully-soon-to-be-compeer Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his film – adding a ‘Maa’ and subtracting an ‘I’ like all sanskaari films should anyway.
You were spot on and you set such an example. I mean, here’s a film crew running away with the archaic, age-old idea that freedom of expression is a legitimate thought and that filmmakers can create fiction out of, wait for it, fiction? My esteemed compeer had to skip the addendum “not in this country, my friend”; am I right?
Why on earth wouldn’t you make an example of who should and shouldn’t be listened to, in terms of a movie release?
For one thing, what’s the big deal about giving in to folks who were demanding a ban of the film while simultaneously clamouring for the heads, noses and other body parts of various people associated with the film? I mean, were you really expected to ask the Karni Sena to take a hike and declare that cinema should be protected from very-real threats of violence?
You must have been swayed by the very compelling argument they made for the protection of a woman’s honour. Who wouldn’t be? Particularly when it comes packaged with threats to 21st century women – in this case, the actor playing rani Padmavati, Deepika Padukone herself – for whom, the Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi had this to say: “Deepika is a naachnewaali… why is she dancing in skimpy clothes?” And dare we forget the choice words BJP MP Chintamani Malviya had reserved for the director’s mother: “How can filmmakers whose women family members change husbands everyday understand jauhar?”
A bit in bad taste, you will at least admit? But such is how things stand in a (ahem) democratic set-up.
I particularly love how you drilled it into the crew’s psyche that senseless repetition is the way to go. If only I had a nickel for the number of times I heard a beseeching Bhansali cry, “The film does not have and never had a dream sequence between Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmavati”. But, like I said, repetition is the way to go. How else will fringe outfits who couldn’t care less whether a film was based on “the epic Padmavat by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi” or the epic Harry Potter franchise by JK Rowling possibly understand?
A little birdie told me the film crew will not promote the film – but just keep their heads ducked in trepidation, quietly waiting for the film (you know, the fruit of many months of blood and sweat) to release. Now if someone’s going to try and chalk that out to terror, they have another thing coming. You obviously wanted to give the team a bit of a rest after all the subterfuge they underwent, covering their heads, noses and other body parts out in the world!
Good to let ‘em relax as they stay at home and reread those addendums to “freedom of expression in cinema”, amiright?
I’ve already done my homework, so you needn’t fret, CBFC. My first film is going to be a loose adaptation of three Korean films and one Canadian documentary, Indianised just the right amount with a woman belly dancing near a cowshed. Now do I hear a ‘U’ certificate, or what?
(We Indians have much to talk about these days. But what would you tell India if you had the chance? Pick up the phone and write or record your Letter To India. Don’t be silent, tell her how you feel. Mail us your letter at email@example.com. We’ll make sure India gets your message.)