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Movie makers can’t run away from moral obligation in name of creative liberty

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Krishna Baalu Iyer
Krishna Baalu Iyer
Columnist, poet, Activist-Heritage lover, Ancient Indian History, Architecture Twitter @IndusSpirit

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director of the controversial movie ‘Padmavati’ would have made a wonderful fantasy movie like Bahubali or Avtar from the substance of the Padmavati story as provided by Jayasi. The story is full of flight and romancing elements for a grandeur crafting.

James Cameron or Christopher Nolan would have done justice to this fantasy without offending the character of Rani Padmini but Bhansali appears to have crafted the narration in a manner eulogising the actors and actresses more than the personas behind these actors. Yesteryear’s Shakti Kapoor would have done justice to the Khilji role rather than the naive Ranveer, who appears to have portrayed the evil Khilji like a friendly boy next door.

The toxic Leftist ideologues in Bollywood and the leftist media had reckoned an impact on the script, particularly in respect of the role of Alauddin Khilji. As we are all aware, Leftists will be deeply eager to see even the renowned barbaric Muslim characters are NOT portrayed openly in a bad light, be it Allauddin Khilji Aurangzeb or Tipu Sultan. However, they are willing to mime even chaste Hindu characters for the sake of ‘secularism’.

Bhansali ran into controversy during the making of Bajirao Mastani also. I feel he was not properly reprimanded. The outcome is Padmavati to day. When liberals cite Amir Khusrow s historical work as proof enough that Padmini was nowhere mentioned, but the same Khusrow categorically cited Khilji butchering 30,000 Hindus in the streets of Rajastan.

But renowned historian Kishori Saran Lal concludes in his research work, that ‘the only historical facts in the legend (Padmavat the epic Poem by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasee) is that Alauddin capturing Chittor, and that the women of the fort (including a queen of Ratna Simha) self-immolating in ‘Jauhar’. Hence the historicity of Padmavati is beyond any argument.

Cinema is a powerful visual media. Through Cinema a message can be sent to even illiterate viewers. If that message is ill-conceived, with an agenda in mind, the result will be ruinous. So then it would be state’s onus to screen the hidden message in the film.

So a high sanctimonious obligation is cast on the makers, particularly when the story is based on some historical or religious facts. Even when some facts hitherto strongly believed to be with ‘historicity’, if proved to be a pure ‘fiction’ on a later day, the strong belief of the fact which has been deeply ingrained in peoples hearts over centuries cannot be taken for a ride under the pretext of artistic freedom or FOE or the likes. Generally, films are made with a profit motive. Rarely movies are made, spending huge money, in anticipation of a box office flop.

When such a ‘belief’ is passed on to generation as a historical fact then that belief has to be respected. A Bansali is not a Historian of repute to have his own ‘views’ so as to make a film disregarding the well-settled Historians views.

Jesus Christ is not a historical figure and as on date, no evidence of Christ existence has been officially recorded. Yet while a movie on Christe is made, the protagonist character cannot be taken in a lighter vein for that same pretext that Jesus Christ was not recognised as a historical figure. In the case of Padmini, she has been worshipped on par with Hindu Goddesses solely for the reason of her supreme sacrifice in protecting her chastity. Over 600 yrs, Rani Padmini has been passed on to the generations down as a persona worth worshipping a la a Goddesses. After 600 yrs a perpetual belief cannot be questioned or impugned or used as a material for a commercial gain of a few manufacturers called filmmakers.

Films are expected to educate the gullible masses, or the least to entertain but not to confuse them, sending them home with shattered beliefs, that were hitherto believed as ‘esteemed’ ones. If the filmmakers turn audacious, biased, egocentric, and daring the public then they are punishable by law and if the law itself confused and hapless at sometimes, then the public will acquire a moral right to boycott the film without any regards to FOE or Artistic freedom or the like junks.

My message here is also for those who now oppose the idea of a total ban on the movie. They may think that this is really an absurd call. But not. This movie even at this juncture is fit for a total ban, unless and until, some objectionable scenes are deleted and even the title of the movie is changed. If the CBFC clearance is cited as a green signal, then the ‘appeal’ concept in the very Jurisprudence will be redundant.

In the same parallel, even in Cricket a 3rd Umpire, or a photo finish reviews, sensitive mikes to judge a batsman’s fate does not warrant at all. Suffice if the Ground Umpire lifts his hand, the batsman s fate is sealed.

What is ‘fringe’? Of late, some TV channels appear to have lost senses and started shouting ‘fringe’ one after another. I wonder are Rajastanis are fringe elements in our society? What is that yardstick to judge a group of pained people as ‘fringe’? Rajasthan has produced a number of artists, over 50 top sports personalities, winners of Sena Medals, Vir Chakra, Shourya Chakra medals, musicians, politicians, freedom fighters, professionals, Advocates, Chartered Accountants. If a leader respects his traditional dress and appear with a turban, but not in a western suit, will that make him a ‘fringe’?

A TV channel ran non-stop rebuking the entire Rajastanis as barbaric, misogynists, retrograde clan. They substantiated their claim with figures and facts. Wonder how a group of people will lose their moral ground to protest an act of desecration, on the grounds of prevailing ‘reality’? The presence of evils in their group?

Then, when Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam was held up virtually by a mob, our Judiciary directed Haasan to settle with the mob outside. Then where were Bhupendra Chowbay, Rahul Kanwal, Arnab Goswami, Navika Kumar’s? why they did not raise the comparable logic with statists of victims of Islamic terror state wise and questioned the ‘mob’ to behave?

Also wonder why this same media, just a few months ago were siding with Tamil Culture of ‘Jallikattu’ and never thought of bringing fore the ills of ‘female infanticides’ that was rampant in Tamil Nadu to counter the Tamil agitators on Jallikattu”

Is it the thinking of the media, that if we stand by Dipika Padukone’s whirling moves singing the song Ghoomer’ like Madhuri Dixit did in Tezaab, playing the role of a chaste Hindu Maharani, will overnight bring societal changes in Rajastan? Or is it in any manner satisfy our ‘scheduled minority’ populace?

If the patrons of the movie Padmavati’ base their stand on the fact that ‘Padmavati’ is not a historical fact, then accepting their version, they can even change the movie title to Deepika instead of Padmavati? It is highly improper to claim that ‘Allauddin Khalji’ is a historical figure, but Padmini is fictional in the same contemporary time.

If they are adamant on this aspect and not willing to change the name of the movie, then it is proof enough that the movie was made consciously to arouse the Hindus passions across the country, to ensure their commercial success record in Bollywood history.

As the media and Directors guild vehemently supporting the movie and critical of the Karni Sena, one wonders, why a similar resistance was not shown by the media and Directors guild when Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam was taken for a ride by the Muslim fringe?

As more and more liberal Hindus are carefully watching the double standards of the media and Bollywood fraternity it is time for both to rethink on its pseudo-secular agenda, and before it is too late.

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Krishna Baalu Iyer
Krishna Baalu Iyer
Columnist, poet, Activist-Heritage lover, Ancient Indian History, Architecture Twitter @IndusSpirit
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