Padmavati controversy: Bengali film industry to observe 15-minute blackout in solidarity


Nov 28, 2017 10:07:26 IST

Various organisations associated with the Bengali film industry will observe a "blackout" on 28 November in solidarity with the maker of Bollywood film Padmavati and to protest against the attempts by certain groups to stall its release.

Padmavati controversy: Bengali film industry to observe 15-minute blackout in solidarity

Deepika in Padmavati; Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Image from Twitter/@vmusicmum

There will be a total halt in work in the Bengali film industry from 12 noon to 12.15 pm on 28 November in every studio and across all the shooting locations in West Bengal as a mark of protest, filmmaker Goutam Ghosh and Bengali film superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee said at a press meet.

The protest is being called a "blackout", said industry organisations, including the Eastern India Motion Picture Directors Association, the Artist Forum and the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers, who were present at the press meet.

Ghosh described the protests against the Bollywood film, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, as "extremely unfortunate".

"Let there be a debate after the film is released to judge what is real history and what is fiction," he said.

"There have been so many interpretations of Rajasthan's history in works of art. Can you muzzle art? Judging the contents of a film is within the purview of the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification), not certain groups," the director of critically acclaimed Bengali film Moner Manush said.

Criticising the alleged statement of a Haryana BJP leader about causing physical harm to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for coming out in support of Bhansali and the producer of Padmavati, Viacom 18, Ghosh said, "At certain moments, we feel that we are moving back to the medieval times."

Chatterjee said, with the call for a blackout, the Bengali film industry wanted to convey the message that the entire film fraternity stood for creative freedom.

"Do these protests (against Padmavati) indicate that the directors will not enjoy a creative freedom while making films? Certain states are banning "Padmavati" without even knowing what its contents are. Will the directors be required to get their scripts endorsed by certain individuals from now on, even before sending the film to the CBFC for a preview?" the superstar wondered.

Yesterday, the Indian Films and TV Directors Association (IFTDA), along with 19 other bodies of the film and television industry from across the country, had stopped shooting for 15 minutes and participated in a similar protest called "Main Azaad Hoon? (Am I free?)" at the Film City in Mumbai.

Many Rajput groups have been up in arms against Bhansali's film, alleging that it distorts history by featuring a romantic dream sequence between Rani Padmini and Alauddin Khilji, a claim repeatedly denied by Bhansali.

The makers of the film, which features Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in the lead roles, have already deferred its release from 1 December till further notice.

Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh (all ruled by the BJP) have expressed reservations about the film and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said his government will not allow the release of Padmavati in the state as it hurts the sentiments of the Rajput community.

Updated Date: Nov 28, 2017 10:23:11 IST