The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has decided to give a U/A certificate subject to no cuts, but five "modifications" -- including a title change -- to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversial film "Padmavati". The decision has not been welcomed by the Karni Sena, a Mewar royal and some members of the film fraternity.
Uncertainty has been looming large over the movie's release since a few months, but on Saturday, the CBFC -- following a examining committee meeting -- said it has decided to give a U/A certificate to the movie subject to modifications.
"There are no cuts suggested in this film by CBFC, only five modifications," CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi told IANS via email, refuting reports that 26 cuts were ordered in the movie.
"Padmavati", backed by Viacom18 Motion Pictures, is directed by Bhansali and features Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapur in lead roles.
The film, which was to release on December 1, has been embroiled in controversy over alleged distortion of facts regarding Rajput history, with Rajput outfits and some backed by the BJP, actively protesting its release.
Joshi said the CBFC asked the makers to change the disclaimer "clearly to one that does not claim historical accuracy".
Regarding the film's title "Padmavati", Joshi said the discussed change is to "Padmavat" as the filmmakers have attributed their material/creative source as the fictional poem "Padmavat" and not history.
CBFC has demanded modifications in the song "Ghoomar" to "befit" the character of Rajput queen Padmavati being portrayed by Deepika, and changes in the "incorrect/misleading reference to historical places".
The censor board also wants the makers to add a disclaimer which clarifies that the "film in no manner subscribes to the practice of Sati or seeks to glorify it".
Once the required modifications are carried out and final material submitted, the certificate will be issued, CBFC said.
According to Joshi, these suggested changes "are completely in agreement with the filmmakers -- the producers and director of the film".
The decision was taken after an examining committee meeting was held on Thursday in the presence of Joshi, along with a special panel comprising Arvind Singh from Udaipur, historian Chandramani Singh and Professor K.K. Singh of Jaipur University.
As per CBFC, the film was approached with a "balanced view keeping in mind both the filmmakers and the society".
"Considering the complexities and concerns around the film, the requirement for a special panel was felt "to add perspective to the final decision of the official committee," Joshi said.
Despite the go-ahead, Karni Sena, an organisation of the Rajput community, which has been protesting the movie's release on Saturday again urged a complete ban on "Padmavati" alleging "distortion of historical facts".
"We will station our people outside cinema theatres and each hall showing the film will be vandalised," Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi, president, Shree Rajput Karni Sena, told media in Jaipur.
Members of the organisation had earlier this year physically assaulted Bhansali during the film's shooting in Jaipur earlier this year, vandalised the sets of the movie on the outskirts of Mumbai, and then issued threats against Bhansali and Deepika.
The CBFC's suggestions were also slammed by a Mewar royal, who expressed his disappointment in a letter to Joshi.
Maharajkumar Vishvaraj Singh, son of Mahendra Singh Mewar -- the 76th Maharana of the Mewar dynasty and a former Lok Sabha member -- said he was supposed to be a part of the committee on Thursday. But he couldn't make it in the end and the decision was taken by the censor board without his consent.
Popular Bollywood celebrities like Anubhav Sinha, Renuka Shahane and Apurva Asrani, among others also slammed CBFC's decision on Twitter, where some people edited Deepika's photograph with her co-star Ranveer Singh, referring to the new title, "Padmavat".
"So Bhansali can now actually throw a party. Just that whisky will be called 'whiska', vodka will be called 'vodki' and so on," Sinha tweeted.
Renuka wrote: "The 'I' of the storm has passed. CBFC changes the name of "Padmavati" to "Padmavat" and passes the film with a U/A certificate. Thereby, nobody will have any issue and nobody's sentiments will be hurt. Name changing is game changing I must say!"
Filmmaker Rahul Dholakia was "disgusted" by CBFC's decision.
"Disgusted by the open and blatant use of political muscle to screw filmmakers during elections. Now that Gujarat and Himachal are won, 'Padmavati' has got its U/A, it will be praised. Rajputs' heroism will be talked about by the same people who slammed it. Thank God we have not made a film called Gandhi! Can you imagine what title CBFC would suggest," he tweeted.
Asrani said: "If 'Pad Man' picks up the 'I' that 'Padmavat' drops, they'll have to call it 'Padmani'. From the frying pan into the pyre."
Actor Rahul Dev tweeted: "'Padmavati' turns 'Padmavat', smart move, yet wonder why is the 'I' so large in our country? CBFC gives U/A certificate for the film."