Raj Babbar Likens the ‘Padmavati’ Row to ‘Insaf Ka Tarazu’
The actor-turned-politician, Raj Babbar.
The actor-turned-politician, Raj Babbar. (Facebook/Raj Babbar)

Raj Babbar Likens the ‘Padmavati’ Row to ‘Insaf Ka Tarazu’

There is no politician as plain-speaking as Raj Babbar. Babbar being an actor of immense stature seems to have understood Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s predicament regarding Padmavati as the filmmaker spoke before the Parliamentary Committee on  Thursday.

Sources say, “Raj Babbar was extremely empathetic and deeply concerned” when Bhansali was summoned to the Parliamentary Committee in Delhi.

“I tried to understand what the problem regarding Padmavati is. I don’t know why this situation has escalated into a raging controversy. It should not have been allowed to. As part of the Parliamentary Committee and the only representative  of the film fraternity who was present, I tried to make Sanjay Bhansali comfortable and relaxed. I can’t tell you what we spoke because for that I may be summoned.”
Actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar.

However,  Babbar did bring up his two major concerns. “As far as Padmavati is concerned I am very worried on two counts. My first and predominant concern is the role of the censor board. They should not delay the certification of Padmavati any further. They must see the film soonest. Because the nation’s and the film industry’s eyes are glued on the CBFC’s verdict on Padmavati. Why the delay? The CBFC  must view the film immediately.”

Raj Babbar’s other concern is about the safety of the Padmavati team. “It is the government’s duty to ensure that no harm is done to the Padmavati team. When the film is released there should be adequate security at theatres to avoid untoward  incidents. Release, the film must. The nation must be allowed to see the film before  deciding if the content is offensive or not. If not, who will compensate the director and producers for the losses suffered?”

Raj Babbar reveals that he is no stranger to raging cinema controversies.

“I speak now not in my capacity as a member of Parliamentary Committee but as a responsible member of the film fraternity. When B R Chopra’s ‘Insaf Ka Tarazu’ was released in 1980, the film and I were condemned for glorifying rape and denigrating women.”
Neta-Abhineta, Raj Babbar.
B R Chopra’s <i>Insaf Ka Tarazu, </i>in which Raj Babbar appeared was condemned for glorifying rape.
B R Chopra’s Insaf Ka Tarazu, in which Raj Babbar appeared was condemned for glorifying rape.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Raj Babbar didn’t know how to handle the controversy.

“I was new to such attention  and to the film industry. ‘Insaf Ka Tarazu’ was my first  film. And I played the rapist! Women’s organisations pounced on me condemning my presence in the film as being derogatory to women. You must remember this was way back in the 1980s when the concept of women’ empowerment and feminism were just emerging in the media. The aggression regarding women’s rights was new and hotblooded and I had to bear the  full brunt of it.”
Actor-turned-politician, Raj Babbar.

It took one brave and honourable judge to put an end to the attack on Insaf Ka Tarazu.

Babbar recalls, “The matter went to Justice Bhagwati who stood by the film. He was a friend of the film’s producer-director B R Chopra and Justice Bhagwati agreed to see Insaaf Ka Tarazu. I wonder what would’ve happened to our film if he had not agreed to see the film! When he saw the film, he recommended it strongly as a statement against rape. He wrote a letter supporting the  film. That’s why we were able to release our film.” Raj Babbar sees the Padmavati controversy as an encore of  Insaf Ka Tarazu.

“The same aggression and the determination to bring the film down. Luckily for us we had Justice Bhagwati on our side.”
Actor-turned-politician, Raj Babbar.

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