On Wednesdaythere was uncertainty and fear surrounding the future ofPadmavati. Will the producers Viacom 18 Motion Pictures actually be able to release the film in spite of the threat? The fringe group claiming to represent theRajputcommunity, has sent out threatening letters to individual multiplex theatres across the country.
A worried manager of a leading multiplex told me, Even if we overlook the threat and decide to release the film the mall owners would be worried about the security of the shoppers .So if the mall owner says no, we cant releasePadmavat. And what about the patrons who some to seePadMan?They will be scared away because of the violent treats forPadamavat.
Buton Thursday the clouds of doubts were partially dispelled when the honourable Supreme Court ruled against the ban imposed on the film by 4 Indian states.
Not justSanjayLeelaBhansalithe entire film industry, petrified to speak up, breathed a sigh of relief.One of the first filmmakers to react with unbridled joy at the SCs verdict was RBalkiwhosePadMangets directly affected by the release ofPadmavation the same day.
SaysBalki, This is a victory democracy, the righttofreedom of expression and for the film industry being held at ransom by fringe groups. I cant even begin to imagine the relief that Viacom 18 andSanjayLeelaBhansalimust be feeling.
It is good to hear a voice from the film industry finally speak up. There has been a strange quietude amongSanjayBhansalis colleagues. Perhaps they are too scared to speak up. A prominent actor who is member of parliament had promised to raise thePadmavatissue in parliament. That actor is nowtightlipped, afraid to talk.
It is not fear of the fringe groups that keeps me from raising my voice in parliament. It is the fear of being proven wrong.What iftomorrow, when the film releases and it has something genuinely objectionable in it? Even earlier inBajiraoMastani,Bhansalihad portrayed the Maratha warrior as dancing to an aggressive song.What if something like that pops up inPadmavat? asks this otherwise-fearless parliamentarian.
Wait-and-watch seems to be the policy regardingPadmavat. In the days before the release of the volatile film onJanuary 25we can expect several private screenings for various influential elements including perhaps some leaders from the fringe groups.
Back at the Bhansalis residence there was cautious optimism about the SC order to ban the ban, so to speak. Minutes after the SC verdict the filmmaker who hasnt slept much in recent weeks was on the phone in a huddle over release plans. A close family member said. Its great to hear the Supreme Court lift the ban. But will the States pay ahead? And more importantly, will the fringe groups listen to the verdict?
Good point, that. Just an hour after the SCs wonderful verdict theatre owners received renewed warnings.
A theatre owner inBiharsays he is not releasing the onJanuary 25. Even ifNitishjidoesnt ban the film I wont release the film on 25th. I will see how it goes with the other theatres onJanuary 25and release the film accordingly onJanuary 26.
Long live democracy.
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