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Are Bhansali & Co. “Lying”, Waiting For A Record Fortune?

Author: Arvind Lavakare
Publication: PGurus.com
Date: November 30, 2017
URL:   https://www.pgurus.com/are-bansali-co-lying-waiting-for-fortune/

What remains to be challenged is the integrity of today’s “Padmini” makers as expressed in the public dominion.

Were you, Bhansali & Co., “lying” waiting for considerable curiosity to be whipped up across the country for ensuring an all-time record fortune at the box-office?

People of Rajasthan and Gujarat are angry, very angry.
 
In the 19th century, during the Swadeshi movement, Padmini became a symbol of Indian patriotism.

They simply cannot digest the thought of seeing their Queen Padmavati of Chittor being shown in a film as having anything to do with Alauddin Khilji, the tyrant Sultan of Delhi, who, in his passionate desire to make her a part of his own harem, killed innumerable Rajput soldiers in his 1303 devastating attack on Chittor Fort in Mewar which lies in the southern part of Rajasthan extending to Gujarat. And, they just cannot digest the public and the media at large insulting their psyche (asmita) by loudly supporting the Bollywood makers of film “Padmavati” on the basis of the constitutionally guaranteed “freedom of speech and expression” allied to “artistic interpretative filmmaking”.

Incidentally, there’s that too-familiar legend of Khilji being mesmerized with Queen Padmavati after he saw her reflection in a mirror. Jauhar Smriti Sansthan, a research and social group, formed in 1950 to revive the lost pride of Mewar, has said in one of its documents that “There is no evidence to the entire episode of Khilji being shown the reflection of Padmini — either in a mirror or water” says a  “Times of India “ report of February this year.

What cannot also be denied is that Rani Padmavati, certain of the defeat of the soldiers of her Raja, Rawal Ratan Singh, committed Jauhar (self-immolation”) as indicated by a document of the Jauhari Samiti which says that “Every year they organise a Jahaur procession in honour of three Jauhars held in Chittorgarh fort, including the one involving Padmini.” (ibid).

What also cannot be denied is that “In the 19th century, during the Swadeshi movement, Padmini became a symbol of Indian patriotism. Indian nationalist writers portrayed her story as an example of a heroic sacrifice, and a number of plays featuring her were staged after 1905. Ireland-born Sister Nivedita (1866–1971) also visited Chittoor and historicised Padmini. The  Rajkahini by Abanindranath Tagore  (1871–1951) popularised her as a historical figure among schoolchildren.”

What remains to be challenged is the integrity of today’s “Padmini” makers as expressed in the public dominion. Here below are the “intentions” and the doubts as to whether these were facts or fiction:

1. On 31st January 2017 a Zee news report from Mumbai told us that: Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who was attacked while he was shooting in Jaipur’s Jaigarh Fort last week by a group that was protesting against his film ‘Padmavati’, has reached a truce with the representatives of a Rajput community…SLB’s production house issued a statement to announce that the misunderstandings have been cleared and the matter has been settled.

 Part of the statement read: “Representatives of Bansali Productions Private Limited… met with the office bearers of all the social organisations under the Shree Rajput Sabha in Jaipur… including Karni Seva.”The misunderstanding they had on the content of the film has been cleared and clarified.

Question: If, despite the “truce”, why is the Karni Seva still protesting? Further, on a “Times Now” TV debate a couple of weeks ago, I clearly saw and heard a female descendant of a Rajasthan royalty saying that, during the above discussions, Bansali had agreed to show the film to the above persons before releasing his film; she said that twice. Was that aristocratic female lying? In fact, what was that “truce”? Were its full contents made public? If not, why not?

2. On November 17, 2017, Arvind Singh Mewar of the House of Mewar issued a video of 13-minutes 6 secs. a video expressing the viewpoint that “With the filming of the movie Padmavati, it is clear that the facts have been tampered with and the depiction is unrealistic. We oppose the opulence displayed in the movie.” He was particularly  distressed with the opulence  shown of the House of Mewar which, he said, just did not have the financial resources warranting the strength and opulence of the Mewar army shown in the film.

Question: Have you spoken to Arvind Singhji on the issue and satisfied him?

3. In its edition of November 20, 2017, The Indian Express (Mumbai) carried a longish report on the issue of protests. The most conspicuous part of it was that Central Board of Film Certification Chairman, Prasoon Joshi, (who returned Viacom’s application for clearance for the film) said: “In this specific case, the film’s application came up this week only for review. The makers know and admit that the paperwork is not complete — the very disclaimer, whether the film is a work of fiction or a historical, was left blank and not stated — and, on simply and legitimately being asked to provide important documents, they target the CBFC for  ‘looking the other way and delay’. This truly is surprising.”

Question: Is this the way of someone whom Viacom Motion Pictures (the makers of Padmavati) dubbed as “amongst the most gifted filmmakers of his generation?” Incidentally, when and why was SLB’s production house (mentioned above) converted into Viacom 18?

4. Why did SLB Production house of 31st January 2017 get converted to Viacom 18 on November 20 of the same year? Income Tax issues is it?”

5. Why did SLB or Viacom 18 or whatever choose to secure a UK Film Certification even before being getting one from its Indian counterpart? Is it permissible at all? Is this permissible at all? Or did you cunningly tweak some clauses and rules? It would be gracious of you to clarify.

The above questions lead to a distressing last question: Were you, Bansali & Co., “lying” waiting for considerable curiosity to be whipped up across the country for ensuring an all-time record fortune at the box-office?

Note:

 1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.

 2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

- Arvind Lavakare has been a freelance writer since 1957. He has written and spoken on sports on radio and TV. He currently writes on political issues regularly. His writings include a book on Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

His freelancing career began in "The Times of India" with a sports article published when he was a month shy of 20 years of age. He was also a regular political affairs columnist first for rediff.com for five years or so and then shifted to sify.com. He also wrote extensively for niticentral.com "till it stopped publication."
 
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