New Delhi: Censor board chief Prasoon Joshi today appeared before a parliamentary panel to brief members about the controversy over “Padmavati” and said the process of certifying the film was under way, sources said.
Joshi, who is also scheduled to appear before the parliamentary standing committee on IT, told the Lok Sabha Committee on Petitions that the censor board had only cleared the trailer and promos of the period film. Some panel members expressed their opposition to the trailer and said it should be banned along with the film, it is learnt.
Sources said the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief told the panel that he had not seen the film as yet.
When some members opposed to the film also asked how the film had reached the UK when it had not been approved here, the CBFC chief explained that it was an independent process.
According to procedure, a regional committee would review the film. If necessary, a central committee would then take a view. A final decision would be taken after consulting experts.
The Lok Sabha Committee on Petitions had sought a report from the information and broadcasting ministry and the censor board after C P Joshi and Om Birla, two BJP MPs from Rajasthan, filed a plea on “objectionable content” in the film before the panel.
The officials, sources said, were of the view that controversies are often created for commercial purposes though it was not clear in this case. The panel had asked the officials for a report before November 30, senior BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who heads the panel, had said earlier. Eight members of the panel, including Koshiyari and the two petitioners, attended the meeting.
Sources said three members of the committee were against the film — two from the BJP and one from the Shiv Sena. There were other members who spoke up for freedom of expression. Leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and B R Ambedkar had been criticised in films earlier, one member is believed to have pointed out.
“Padmavati” director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is also expected to appear before the parliamentary panel on IT, which too has invited officials from the ministry and the censor board to discuss the film.
The panel on IT, which also looks into issues concerning the information and broadcasting ministry, has called the meeting to discuss the problems and issues of the film industry, an official said.
Various Rajput groups and political leaders have accused Bhansali of distorting history in the movie by using a romantic dream sequence between the Rajput queen Padmini and Sultan Alauddin Khilji, a claim repeatedly denied by the filmmaker. Historians are divided over whether Padmini actually existed.
The Deepika Padukone-Shahid Kapoor-Ranveer Singh film was was earlier scheduled to release on December 1. The makers have deferred the release till they receive a certificate from the CBFC. They recently applied for 3D certification.