A Mewar royal on 11 November wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani and censor board chairperson Prasoon Joshi, among others, urging them to withhold the certification and release of controversial film Padmavati.
Maharajkumar Vishvaraj Singh, son of Mahendra Singh Mewar — the 76th Maharana of the Mewar dynasty and a former Lok Sabha member — on behalf of his parents and sister Baijiraj Trivikrama Kumari Jamwal, has written the letter, a copy of which is with IANS.
“You are requested not to certify or permit the release of the film in its present form,” Singh has urged, listing out seven reasons to justify his request.
“Allowing commercial interests to override the sanctity of national pride and heritage would be a failure on the part of the government and will not behove well for times to come,” he added.
Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has maintained that his movie is a tribute to the valour of Rajput queen Rani Padmavati.
However, Singh said that reports have indicated that Padmavati is based on Padmawat — a “poetic imagery” by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi — which, according to him, is not regarded as “historically accurate”.
He pointed out that the makers of the movie have not clarified about “any well established and accepted historical source” relied upon for this movie.
On the argument that one cannot judge a film until it has been seen, Singh said, “The song ‘Ghoomar’ and publicity material that has released establishes gross inaccuracies that transgress the limits of dramatic licence. If the film professes to be history and its maker goes on record to claim that he has kept in mind cultural sensitivities, it is an artistic and historic fraud to portray an incorrectly attired courtesan-like painted doll in the song as the very ‘queen’ the film purports to pay obeisance to.”
Singh complained that since the “film is about my family and a chapter in the history of Mewar”, the film makers neither approached the family to verify the facts, nor sought permission to use the family’s name.
While he is concerned how the film portrays the period of warfare, Singh also wants the makers to clarify the movie’s genre to avoid giving the present and future generations a “coloured view of history”.
Lastly, Singh said “it is the responsibility of the government to safeguard the history of our country and the dignity of its citizens”.
The letter has also been addressed to Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, and the Collectors and Superintendents of Police of Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Banswara and Dungarpur.
Padmavati is slated to release on 1 December, and the makers are awaiting a censor screening, and subsequent clearance.
In another development, Diya Kumari has reportedly launched a signature campaign against Padmavati. According to a report by Times of India, the former member of the royal family of Jaipur and BJP MLA alleges that Bhansali’s magnum opus distorts facts.