Padmavati Row

The Supreme Court of India has refused a plea seeking to ban the release of  “Padmavati” saying it could not intervene since the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was yet to decide about the certification of the film. Deepika Padukone plays Rajput queen Padmavati in the controversial epic drama. (Film Padmavati/Twitter photo)

NEW DELHI—The Supreme Court on Nov. 10 refused to ban the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmavati," even as a BJP member accused the filmmaker of treason.

The apex court refused a plea seeking to ban the controversial epic drama's release, saying it could not intervene since the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was yet to decide about the certification of "Padmavati."

The movie, set to release on Dec. 1, has been a subject of controversy. Some Hindu groups and political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, claim that the film distorts history and wrongly portrays Rajput queen Padmavati, a contention Bhansali has rebuffed.

BJP member Arjun Gupta, also a member of the CBFC, urged in a letter addressed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, that Bhansali must be punished for treason.

"The whole country, not just the Rajput community, is standing against it. He needs to be severely punished by being tried for treason for his attempt to distort history so that in future any filmmaker is wary of this kind of projects," Gupta said in the letter.

"Padmavati" has been described by Bhansali as a tribute to the sacrifice, valor and honor of Rani Padmavati, a Rajput queen.

Bhansali has repeatedly clarified that there are no scenes in the film to hurt anyone's sentiments – as opposed to rumors that the movie features a romantic dream sequence between Rani Padmavati and invader Alauddin Khilji, essayed by actors Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh.

Gupta has appealed to the CBFC to "not certify this film."

However, CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi said an individual point of view does not represent the collective view of the organization.

"We have respect for Bhansali as an individual and artist," Joshi told IANS.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government is planning to set up a committee to watch "Padmavati" ahead of its release to ensure that facts are not distorted. But it is not clear whether Bhansali will screen the movie for it as, by law, only the CBFC has the right to certify or censor a movie.

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