Censor board bans controversial Hindi film Padmaavat

PadmaavatGEORGE TOWN: Malaysia’s film censorship authority has banned ‘Padmaavat’, a controversial Hindi movie that features the relationship between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler in medieval India.

The Film Censorship Board (LPF) placed the movie in its “not approved list” yesterday, with a “not relevant” remark placed on its age rating section.

The “not relevant” remark is usually given to banned movies deemed to likely incite hatred and uneasiness among the community, a movie producer familiar with the matter told FMT.

Malaysia’s censors have broad powers to allow or disallow a film from screening, which cannot be questioned in any court of law.

The Times of India has given the movie a 4 out of 5 rating. Since its launch in India on Friday, it has collected some 535 million rupees (RM32.6 million) at the box office.

Unlike LPF, India’s censorship board passed the film, based on the historical 14th century queen Padmavati, after an “unprecedented and tough situation” and some modifications, Reuters reported.

The board asked that the name of the film be changed to “Padmaavat” from the original eponymous ‘Padmavati’, to reflect that its material was sourced from an epic poem of the same name and not from actual events.

The board also told the film’s producers to run a disclaimer saying the movie does not “claim historical accuracy”.

Hindu groups, particularly in the states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra, have criticised the film’s makers for “distorting history” by showing Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji as the “lover” of Padmavati who belonged to the Rajput warrior clan.

The leader of an Indian caste-related group had reportedly offered 50 million rupees (US$769,000) to anyone who “beheaded” Padukone or director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

In January, protesters belonging to the Rajput Karni Sena group reportedly attacked Bhansali and vandalised the set during filming in Jaipur in Rajasthan.

In Malaysia, Padmaavat is the second movie to get the axe this year, following “Those Long Haired Nights” a Filipino movie on three transgendered prostitutes.

Last year, the LPF reportedly banned Disney’s remake of the “Beauty and the Beast” for a scene that had an apparent homosexual suggestion. The board then proposed for four minutes of the movie to be cut to be screened.

Disney appealed against LPF’s decision and the board released the movie without cuts, but with a PG13 rating for parental guidance for those below 13.

The rebooted “Power Rangers” movie was also nearly banned early last year, for an apparent lesbian reference to the yellow Power Ranger character. It was later released without cuts with a P13 rating as well.

In March last year, Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz delivered a broadside to the LPF, reminding them to be “not moral guardians”.

He said the LPF had gone overboard and people would resort to illegal means to watch movies if more movies were banned or censored.

Nazri blasts censorship of movies, says ‘enough is enough’

Movie Review: Padmaavat