As Bollywood and its tendency for fearless strorytelling progressed together, newer and more modern ways of reaching the public were adopted. Television and the Internet expanded that reach to homes across the nation. The most recent permutation can be found in modern social media. Facebook, Twitter, and the mobile phones they’re accessed from all play an important role. The present generation is well connected with their seemingly immediate accessibility through social networks that plays an excellent role in building awareness and promotes a film. But at the same time in the recent past many Bollywood and other regional films in India have many a times been at the receiving end of social or political agitations caused due to disappointments of particular communities in the past. Padmavati or Padmavat as it is now called has been in the center of such controversy for the past few months. Started from the days of its shoot a certain section of the Indian society has shown their complete angst and denouncement of the subject. The agitations were such that the Censor Board had to step in resulting in change of name and other things. Today things have come to such a pass for filmmakers that the voices that are trying to stir the consciousness of the society are being silenced in the name of censorship. We at Cinemawallah decided to take a look into what the commoners think about the issue, we asked for views from people from different walks of life staying at different locations, here are five such opinions.
Writer, Blogger and Publishing Professional
Cinema, as far as I understand, is a medium of expression. The fuss about Padmavat(i) is a threat to this idea of expression. We have arrived, and living in such a bleak period that a fictional character is assumed to be real and all of sudden it becomes the epitome of pride of a certain community. I personally believe that this whole brouhaha is a regressive step. When the cinema around the world is challenging existing structures and creating new niches, we are delving into a pool of vainglory. It’s almost similar to closing your eyes and pretending that the world doesn’t see you.
The recent diktat given by the Censor Board to change the name of the film from Padmavati to Padmavat is both laughable and worrisome! Laughable because the CBFC assumes that the change of name would at once make the film fictional just like the poem (of the same name) it is based on. It just comes across as a last-minute damage control on the part of the always-better-safe-than-sorry CBFC. However, what one should be worried about is that this recent decision or suggestion somehow validates or encourages the hooliganism done by certain fringe elements during and after the shooting of the film. It puts a BIG question mark on the creative freedom of filmmakers or artists in general and the stance of the government on such matters! Utterly shameful and disappointing!
Professor of English
“A new film based on the Padmavati legend is for us the people of Bengal a text that demands comparison with Jaisi’s Padumavat on one hand and Abanindranath’s Padmini on the other. If there has been anything to be called as Bengali culture, Jaisi and Abanindranath represent therein two divergent streams, two opposite discourses which seem to be at a tussle today on the national level much more powerfully than ever in the context of the controversial release of Bhansali’s film. But as a Bengali I take pride in carrying in my tradition both Jaisi and Abanindranath as artists par excellence, and equally revere their works of art. I stongly debunk any controversy either before or after the release of the film, since a well-accomplished work of art has no religion.”
Mentor and Practitioner…Media, Filmmaking and Education
Padmavati now padmaavat has been doing the headline rounds courtesy Karni Sena. If the I sorts the problem so be it. Enough to the unending ruckus for cinema, which should be reasonably left to the imagination of the maker. Otherwise too it is less a medium of social change more of entertainment and commerce under current ethos of Indian viewer sentiments specifically for Bollywood film industry.
Personally a country of 1.35 billion there need to be better ideas and graver issues to debate and solve. Perhaps citizens and media need better guidance from people in power to understand the issues that really hurt them and not reel issues.
Padmavati for me is a movie to go and discover, to trash it like it love it or simply wait to see it again another time to find a fresh finding, Padmavati for me is a movie as created by its creator with a vision and purpose in mind! Who am I to dissect it, I shall only be able to take it, as I may be capable of taking it.