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More than an ‘i’ lost

Published : Jan 2, 2018, 12:18 am IST
Updated : Jan 2, 2018, 12:20 am IST

The review committee is by no means a first for the Hindi film industry.

Deepika Padukone in 'Padmavati.'
 Deepika Padukone in 'Padmavati.'

The film has lost more than the letter ‘i’ in its title. Its makers had to compromise on their intellectual integrity to preserve the movie’s commercial aims. Padmavat may, however, be truer to the concept of a story based more on fictional accounts than on authenticated history. The review committee is by no means a first for the Hindi film industry. This one, consisting of historians and representatives of former Rajasthan royals, had to be formed to sort out the issues involved and the filmmakers have been told to reaffirm the modern stand against the inexplicable practice of “sati” that existed well into the 20th century. There is, however, no knowing what may happen before the film’s formal release and the extent of opposition that may still be whipped up in its wake as the Karni Sena, the original perpetrator of resistance to Padmavati, is yet to be mollified.

The phenomenon of Indian “offendedness”, as Salman Rushdie chose to call it in a term he invented for this trait of raving and ranting at anything that can be taken offence at, appears to be rising. The question is should a film that very few have seen as yet become the medium of such resistance, including during its making when the crew were assaulted and sets burnt and theatres vandalised, as to become a pressing national issue. The amount of time and energy the dispute and its potential resolution has taken is totally disproportionate to governance at a time when tending to the economy and creating jobs should be the national priority. It is the weight of the money behind the prestigious production of a filmmaker known for his lyrical and colourful composition of images that seems to have managed a compromise that might just work. If those still opposing the film consider themselves free not to watch the film this might work to the best interests of society.

Tags: padmavati, karni sena, salman rushdie