Will Padmavaat Now Release in Raj, Guj, MP and Haryana?The Supreme Court has restored sanity by batting for free speech and ordering that the film Padmavaat be released all over India as it has been certified for release by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC). It has reiterated that since the CBFC is the body that is empowered to clear movies for release after examining them from all angles, including whether they are derogatory to women or liable to cause disharmony between communities and since it has already certified Padmavaat, states cannot impose a ban on the film. Legally speaking, the apex court has done what needed to be done to protect free speech and the filmmakers rights.
By Sunil Garodia
But the Supreme Court order is just half the battle won. The court missed the point that in this case, those whom it has ordered to ensure the films release are the very ones who want it banned. Now, despite the courts order, the chief ministers of the states that had banned the movie will cite law and order problems to block the release. Already, the Karni Sena has torched a theatre in Patna in Bihar to create a climate of terror. This may be used as an excuse for stalling the films release in that state. Other states that had banned the film will pick up the thread and do likewise.
Also, theatre owners know the power of politically-motivated rowdies, especially when they will be backed by a police force that will look the other way, to vandalize their properties. Which theatre owner will take the risk to release the movie in the four states whose governments have already announced the ban? For a businessman or a property owner, no movie is worth the risk of having his or her theatre vandalized. Hence, one feels that at least in Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the movie will not be released despite the Supreme Court order. It will be a miracle if the movie gets a proper (by proper one means in the manner a big-budget film like Padmavaat is generally released and not as tokenism in one or two heavily-guarded theatres) release in these states.