November 22, 2017
The way the film "Padmavati" is being pilloried and the
director and the main actor threatened with beheading shows how mob rule has
become one of the hallmarks of "Modi raj", the CPI-M has said.
"No artistic or cultural production is safe from the chauvinist mobs unless they conform to the sectarian-reactionary values of the Hindutva forces," CPI-M journal "People's Democracy" said in an editorial.
The Hindi film is about the legend of Queen Padmavati of Chittor who was supposed to have committed 'jauhar' (self-immolation) rather than fall into the hands of the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji who had invaded Chittor in the 13th century.
"Padmavati is not a historic figure but is a myth which has become a cultural memory. Therefore, there are many narratives about Padmavati. So to accuse the film of distorting history is meaningless," the editorial said.
"The film is being attacked without anyone having seen it. The alleged objectionable scenes in the film have been denied by the director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali," the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.
The editorial said a film is released only after it is certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which is the only authorised body to decide whether a film is fit for public release.
"The opposition to the film being screened is not being voiced just by some fringe groups but by mainstream politicians and BJP Chief Ministers.
"It is reprehensible that some Congress leaders in Rajasthan too have been stridently opposing the film. The Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, also (supported) the protests."
The editorial said the language and the strident stand taken by the Chief Ministers was only encouraging the mob frenzy.
"The effort to suppress 'Padmavati' ... is a more sinister effort to curb freedom of expression and to force cultural productions to conform to the regressive and reactionary values of Hindutva."