An immortalised queen
A movie cannot be sensitized and turned into a political gimmick beyond its poetic expression. Fictionally it does not have to be correct or even fair.
Padmavathi or Queen Padmini is a princess from the Singhal Kingdom of the present Sri Lanka 13th and 14th century. Her beauty was famed throughout India and Sri Lanka. She was immortalised by the famous poet at the time, Mallik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. It is through his poem that she came to be known as Padmavathi while all along she was Queen Padmini. It all depends on the way history was recorded in those days. But the fact remains she was known by two names. Padmavathi could also be an allegorized version of Queen Padmini and she may seem more mythical than real. This is all history yet it holds relevance today, but that relevance needs to be understood.
Artistic freedom and reality
Way back in 1540 if Mallik Muhammad Jayasi could allegorize the Queen Padmini and thereby she has come to be known by that very name, Padmavathi more famously, why not today when director Sanjay Leela Bhansali wishes to immortalise the Queen further with his own perception of love. Artists take real-life characters and spin them into dreams. These dreams are not real but they are the ones that provide good economic turnover, cultural
representation of the maturity of the region and many preoccupations with culture, present a beautiful India to other nations. The film industry is a rich economic endeavour and provides millions of jobs for people. A movie cannot be sensitized and turned into a political gimmick beyond its poetic expression. Fictionally it does not have to be correct or even fair. It is just an expression of artistic proportions.
In reality, Padmavati movie becomes a victim of patronage and hatred. Politics is playing with the artistic expressions in full swing. The Censor Board is sitting over the movie and the matter even reached to the Supreme Court of India and a parliamentary panel. The apex court directs the censor board to do its work for the movie. Without watching the film, several state governments have already banned its release. It hurts the movie makers and artistic mind of common man.
We need to be more mature
The sad thing about the people who protest about artistic expressions like the controversy that is raging regarding the movie Padmavathi is that they, who have a personal agenda. What they make appear like a blemish on historical facts and the sentiments of Rajputs is actually political posturing. That an entire nation should be subjected to that is a breach of the right of the people of India who have every right to enjoy artistic expressions in all forms. Threats which have been thrown at Deepika Padukone are not democratic in nature and we do not live in a dictatorial environment. Such threats cannot be
accepted. Anybody who wants to protest must do it without being threatening. The Government should be very clear on that. We are living in a civilised society we cannot have groups of people intimidating fellow citizens. It is a culture we must not allow to grow. The country needs to see such controversies in a mature light.
Calling for proof
Anarchy of such sorts has permeated into our country when political, religious and self-styled groups of people are appointing themselves as moral keepers. In the case of the movie Padmavathi, has anybody found a part of the movie discourteous to the Rajputs then they should peacefully approach the Censor Board and place before it a memorandum, giving proof of what is contrary to the sentiment of the Rajputs. India must legislate laws to protest and protest peacefully. Protestation must be backed by factual evidence. If a group wants to protest, they need to back up their allegations with factual evidence like a signature campaign etc. If they feel a majority of Rajputs are offended then they must prove 50% or more people are offended and they must produce those many signatures verified by a government agency to be correct. We need to legislate protestations with newer laws and guidelines and set up a board that ratifies such protestation.
India must not tread the path of Pakistan
India the land of Yoga and Ahimsa cannot stand for intolerance. We cannot stand for intolerance of poetic expressions. What these protesters should really question is the demographic gender inequality that is in existence in Rajasthan. The literacy rate of women is low and domestic violence against women runs high. Among such grave concerns why does Queen Padmavathi who is of the past and little known otherwise but for the movie, so important? The incredulity of such protestation is a clear indication that the protesters are not sincere.
Legislation and newer laws required
In India, protestations are getting dangerous and too frequent. It appears like certain factions are looking to for an opportunity to protest. Freedom to protest cannot be greater than freedom of expression. If at all they are equal. Then there should be no threats levelled at such artistic expressions and connotations. When threat emanates in the name of protestations then the lawmakers must take cognisance of it and legislate laws to make such assertions proof worthy.
Organisations should be registered only members of the groups should protest
Members must pay a yearly fee to have the privilege to represent any group
The members protesting should validate their protest with evidence and their written perception of the point of difference.
There must be proof of such protestations. If the group claims an event or a movie hurts the sentiment of the majority of the people, then they must prove by a written submission that it does so, with written declarations of those many people and each stating why and it cannot be categorised.
Political posturing has risen to unhealthy proportions. The country is yet swayed by a few vested interested people who disrupt the peace of the country by threateningly addressing issues. Some issues which are not important, should not be highlighted, issues which are important should be addressed with sane reasonableness.
Issues which come from wrong artistic expression certainly do not affront a majority and are irrelevant in the face of the many hardships and challenges India faces. India has 27% below poverty line. There is lack of sanitation. Swatch Bharat is still to evolve to completeness.
Alarming child mortality rate, gender bias and many other real issues. Against all these major concerns Queen Padmavathi and the controversy surrounding a movie sounds like and issueless noise.
Why it should gain national importance is still a matter of concern. Why this controversy cannot be addressed without threats is a matter of greater concern.
Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali: Facing the stir.
Some Hindu groups protesting against the movie's release.
CBFC Chief Prasoon Joshi.