Team Padmaavat to play Aarakshan card in Supreme Court
Citing Prakash Jha's Aarakshan where SC had lifted state ban imposed on it, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's legal aide to argue that six states' ban illegal
After trying for long to appease protests, Padmaavat makers have finally decided to approach the Supreme Court. The lawyers will cite the example of Aarakshan, and argue that once the censor board has certified a movie, no state can ban it.
When mid-day reached out to Mahesh Agarwal, one of the lawyers representing the case for Viacom 18 (co-producer of Padmaavat), he said that citing the example of Prakash Jha's Aarakshan (2011), the counsel will argue that the state government cannot ban a film that has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). "The ban is illegal. Once the movie has been certified by the CBFC, the state government has no power to issue a ban. A similar issue has been earlier settled by the Supreme Court in the case of Aarakshan. So we'll take that as an example in our argument."
Saif Ali Khan in a still from Aarakshan
For the uninitiated, Aarakshan, which dealt with the policy of caste-based reservations in educational institutions, was granted a U/A certificate by the Censor Board. However, the film was viewed as 'anti-Dalit' and banned in several states. But the Supreme Court cleared its nationwide release.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
As for Padmaavat, Agarwal pointed out that the Censor Board examined all the allegations made against the drama and recommended modifications accordingly. "The Censor Board took advice from a special panel as well. The makers made the necessary changes, after which the certificate was granted." It may be noted that besides changing the title (the original title was Padmavati), the film also carries the disclaimer that it doesn't promote the practice of Sati, among others. Shobha Sant (CEO, Bhansali Productions) is hopeful of the SC ruling in the film's favour. "We have total faith in our judicial system. Jodhaa Akbar  too was banned in seven states before its release and the apex court's intervention resolved the matter."
Padmaavat is currently banned in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh.
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