After a resolving the bedlam in India, the Deepika-Ranveer-Shahid starrer Padmaavat is facing the release dilemma abroad. Based on a 16th century poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi that glorifies legendary Rajput queen Rani Padmini, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial, has been banned in Malaysia for allegedly portraying Islam in a bad light. Malaysia’s national censorship board took the decision "because the plot of the movie gave a bad image of Islam through the role played by a (Muslim) sultan”, reports The Jakarta Post.
"He is portrayed as a Sultan who is arrogant, cruel, inhumane, devious with all kinds of trickery, unreliable and who does not fully practice Islamic teachings," the home ministry of Malaysia said in a statement. "This was bad for Islam's image as the sultan Khilji was shown as representing an Islamic sultanate," the report quoted.
Ruling that the movie was "not approved for screening", the country's National Film Censorship Board (LPF) chairman Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz said, "The storyline of the film touches on the sensitivities of Islam. That in itself is a matter of grave concern in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country."
Malaysia's Film Appeal Committee had also rejected an appeal by the movie's distributors in the country to lift the ban. Antenna Entertainments had estimated that Padmaavat will easily mint RM5 million (approximately Rs 8 crore) in Malaysian box-office. Liza Anand, who is the managing director of Antenna Entertainments' was quoted by the Star online saying, "Unfortunately, the film is still banned. LPF reviewed the film today and decided to uphold the ban."
Bollywood films are popular in Malaysia, where ethnic Indians make up seven percent of the country's 32 million population. However, 60 percent of Malaysia's population are Muslims. Earlier, the country has banned movies like ‘Noah’, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, ‘The Prince of Egypt’, ’Babe’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ fearing that it could hurt religious sentiments. The country has also occasionally banned live shows by foreign artists on similar grounds. Pakistan, which is also a Muslim-majority country, the censor board had cleared film with a 'U' certification without any cuts.
Padmaavat faced severe controversy at home as well after various Rajput groups alleged that Bhansali is "distorting historical facts" with the portrayal of queen Padmavati. However, the claim was repeatedly denied by the filmmaker. The film finally released in India on January 25 after the Central Board of Film Certification cleared it with a 'U/A' certificate and five modifications, that included changing its title from Padmavati to Padmaavat.