Sad & Strange: Hansal Mehta, Shyam Benegal on ‘Padmavati’

Filmmakers Anurag Basu and actor Sophie Choudry also speak up on the Padmavati issue. 

3 min read
Hindi Female

As the Padmavati crisis escalates, veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal shows concern on the behaviour of The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The filmmaker who helmed a committee to recommend reforms in the censor board's working, has strong words of censure for the panel.

“I must say the CBFC is behaving very strangely in the matter of ‘Padmavati’. If the film did not carry a disclaimer it could easily be corrected. Why send the film back? Again it seems very suspicious”.
Shyam Benegal, Filmmaker 

Shyam Benegal, who has faced furious backlash in his time for his cinema on socio-cultural equality, is baffled by the extend of the Padmavati uproar.

“I am sorry I can’t comment on ‘Padmavati’. I haven’t seen it, have you? No one has seen it. Yet there are hordes of people objecting to its content. Does that make any sense?I can’t understand how the protest has spread across the nation when hardly anyone has seen the film. How can the protest against a film become so rampant when no one has seen the film, no one knows the content”.
Shyam Benegal

"I am sorry, the protests make no sense, unless we judge them against the political current political climate in the country."

Benegal, whose films like Ankur, Nishant, Manthan focused on the evils of the caste system, sees a pattern of vote-bank politics in the protests against Padmavati.

"This is being done to consolidate the Rajput vote. Now, you must understand that the Rajput community is not one homogenized community across the country," he said.

“The Rajputs of Rajasthan possess a different mindset and cultural inclination as compared with theRajputs in other parts of India. And even those Rajputs in different regions outside Rajasthan are diverse in their outlook.By raking up the ‘Padmavati’ non-issue, the Karni Sena hopes to homogenize the Rajput country across the country, unite them over an utterly irrelevant crisis. Sadly their ploy seems to be working. If I am from a particular caste and you tell me my cultural heritage is threatened I will naturally react against the threat”.
Shyam Benegal

Benegal urges the protesters to get reasonable.

He said: "Wait for Padmavati to release then pass your verdict. What is the point in commenting over a film whose content has not been exposed to the public?"


Filmmaker Hansal Mehta is also upset about Sanjay Leela Bhansali's historical drama Padmavati getting postponed, and says he is disappointed with the government's stance. The filmmaker also said that he regrets his decision to "record a video" for the forthcoming 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

"So SLB (Bhansali) should show the film to those who threaten to have him beheaded? And get their approval?"

Padmavati has been mired in controversy over conjectures that it "distorts history" regarding Rajput queen Padmavati, a contention that Bhansali has repeatedly denied.

Filmmaker Anurag Basu also took to Twitter to share his thoughts about the "bizarre" row.

Singer Sophie Choudry also posted:

The film's producer and distributor Viacom18 Motion Pictures on Sunday released a statement that read: "Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind Padmavati, has voluntarily deferred the release date of the film from December 1, 2017."

Some Hindu groups have been protesting against the movie's release while some political outfits have demanded that its release be deferred in view of the Gujarat Assembly elections.

The makers have also not got a clearance yet from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which said the application from the makers was "incomplete".

The film features Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles.

A new release date will be announced once the "requisite clearances" are in place.

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