Hindi film on Hindu-Muslim love affair too sensitive, say censors

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GEORGE TOWN: Hindi film Padmaavat has been banned in Malaysia because of elements deemed sensitive to the Muslim-majority society, the National Film Censorship Board (LPF) said.

However, LPF chairman Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz said the distributors of the film had filed an appeal against the ban and it would be reviewed by the Film Appeals Committee on Jan 30.

“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.

“Currently, LPF is unable to provide further comments as the film distributor has submitted an appeal to the appeals committee.

“Therefore, further comments will only be issued after the appeals committee has made its decision,” he told FMT.

Zamberi said the committee will decide on Jan 30 whether to “affirm or alter” LPF’s earlier decision.

The Film Appeals Committee is a separate body from the LPF, where distributors or producers can appeal against decisions made by the board.

It comprises mostly members of the home ministry, which oversees the LPF.

There are at least 20 members and it is headed by a chairman and vice-chairman appointed by the home minister.

The committee is formed under the Film Censorship Act of 2002 where members are selected on a case-by-case basis and has no permanent membership except for representatives of the inspector-general of police; the secretaries-general of the home, and communications and multimedia ministries; and education director-general.

Padmaavat is a Hindi movie that features the relationship between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler in medieval India. It was banned by the LPF on Saturday.

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

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

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