The Supreme Court of India has dismissed a petition to boycott the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” in the UK, by the UK based Rajput Samaj, and has advised Chief Ministers (CM) and government officials to refrain from passing remarks till the film is cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The Supreme Court has also asked political leaders to stop “pre-judging” the film which has angered right-wing Hindu groups for allegedly distorting history.
Despite the film has received clearance from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the producers have reportedly refused to screen it in the UK.
“When the matter is pending for CBFC’s consideration, how can persons holding public offices comment on whether CBFC should issue (a) certificate or not? It’ll prejudice the decision-making of CBFC,” the bench said while dismissing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate ML Sharma.
Sharma, in the past, had already filed a similar petition against the same film.
“We are sure they [the leaders] will be guided by the basic premise under the rule of law and not venture outside,” the bench added.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the director and producer, said the film would not be released aboard until it receives a CBFC certificate.
The Chief Justice of India also refrained from imposing a fine on Sharma and said his PIL was an abuse of the process of law.
“Padmavati” is battling mounting protests by the Rajput community, which claims a distortion of history in the depiction of legendary queen Padmini, who is said to have killed herself to avoid being captured by Muslim emperor Alauddin Khilji.
Padmini was believed to have committed ‘jauhar’ – the medieval Rajput practice where female royals walked into funeral fires to embrace death over the dishonour of being taken captive.
Earlier this month, the head of the Rajput Karni Sena in Rajasthan said Padukone, what stars as the titular character, should have her nose cut - a symbol of public humiliation - for being part of a film that allegedly insults the famed queen.
Amid mounting pressure, the filmmakers have deferred its release and announced that new release date will be decided only after the CBFC clears it in India.