Coming straight to the crux of the matter, let me begin by first and foremost pointing out that the Supreme Court on November 20, 2017 dismissed another plea for the second time to stay the release of the controversial movie Padmavati and initiate criminal prosecution against its Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It made it amply clear that it wants the Censor Board to come to an independent and considered decision on certifying the movie. This is the right step in the right direction and the Supreme Court’s decision has come at the right time which must be respected as it is the highest court of the land.
Be it noted, the CJI Dipak Misra further went on to add that, “Five members see a movie. Once they see it, they discuss it among themselves and suggest cuts. Before they do anything, they give the film-makers an opportunity to be heard to convince them not to cut the scenes in question.” He said that in case of any grievance, there is the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. Very rightly said.
While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform them that the petitioner advocate ML Sharma began by arguing that the movie indulges in the “character assassination” of the 13th century Queen Padmavati. He submitted before the court that, “The Queen was not a dancer. She was a warrior’s wife and a warrior herself”. He argued that the film makers have released the songs without CBFC certification.
For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that ML Sharma contended that the CBFC did not take any action despite the fact that the songs were part of the movie. He claimed that, “I can prove my point. I can produce the songs in court .” He appeared fully confident while putting across his point.
To be sure, while appearing for the film makers, senior advocate Harish Salve, with another senior advocate Shyam Divan argued that the movie is before the examination committee of the CBFC. Salve said that, “This is a continuous process. These things go back and forth”. Salve while strongly defending the film makers said that, “What we have released are promos”. He also rightly argued that audios do not require approval. He also sought to make it clear that, “No promo can be shown without the clearance of the censor board”.
With what face politicians oppose film like Padmavati? They have just no right to oppose it. They must pay heed to what the highest court of the land has said in this regard and should never forget the famous dictum that, “Be you ever so high, the law is above you”!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.