The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’ cannot be banned by states. This removed the much controversial ban on the Deepika-Ranveer-Shahid starrer by at least four states.
"If states are banning a film, then it destroys the federal structure. States can't touch the content of a film. If anybody has a problem, they can approach the appellate tribunal," argued senior lawyer Harish Salve on behalf of the producers of 'Padmaavat'.
The makers of ‘Padmaavat’, Bhansali Productions and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, had challenged the ban announced by Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh on grounds of law and order problems due to violent protests by Rajput groups. The apex court clearly said that it’s the state’s responsibility to ensure peace. Moreover, the producers referred to a past Supreme Court verdict that a film cannot be banned on the basis of mere anticipation of law and order trouble.
However, the Rajasthan government still wishes to examine the order as "difficult" to screen the film because of the protests, said a government official to NDTV. Fringe groups like Karni Sena have threatened to vandalise theatres that wish to screen the period film which will be released on January 25.
"If you go by the arguments against films, I have no hesitation in saying 60 percent of the classical literature cannot be read," said Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat' is inspired by the story of Rajput Queen Padmini, who chose to jump into a pyre and commit "Johar" (mass self-immolation) instead of submitting to Sultan Alauddin Khilji.
Amid massive controversy over Rajput groups alleging distortion, the legendary queen’s history, the Central Board of Film Certification aka censor board asked the makers to change the title from ‘Padmavati’ to ‘Padmaavat’ along with few other modifications.