Episode
November 29, 2017

Why is a Bollywood film sparking threats of violence?

Protests and threats halt release of 'Padmavati' and raise questions of censorship.
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The Bollywood film ‘Padmavati’ is swirling in controversy, so much so that its release in India has been postponed and its international debut left uncertain.

The film recounts the story of a Muslim sultan who attacks a kingdom in an attempt to capture a beautiful Hindu queen. Critics say the film “disrespects the sentiments” of the Rajput caste. And despite historians pointing out that the queen portrayed in the film is a fictional character, Rajput groups have been using their political capital to block the film with much success.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is backing the efforts of Rajput groups, like the Karni Sena, who’ve been holding protests in several states across India. The group is also accused of vandalising cinemas this week and earlier this year reportedly stormed the set of the film and assaulted the director.

The chaos surrounding the film has also raised concerns about growing censorship. Media critics in India say there have been several attempts to block works that some believe are offensive to the country’s Hindu majority.

So, with the film in limbo does it mean censorship is alive and well in India?  We discuss on this episode of The Stream.

On this episode of The Stream, we'll speak to:

Raja Sen @RajaSen

Film critic
rajasen.com

Pankaj Jha
Associate Professor of History, University of Delhi

Dr. Sanjay Singh

President, Rajput Association of North America
rajputra.org

Vaishnavi Sundar @vaishax

Independent filmmaker
wmfindia.com

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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