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Due to passionate campaigns of Raja Rammohan Roy and other social reformers of the time, the practice of Sati was formally banned by Lord William Bentinck under Bengal Sati Regulation, 1829. As per this regulation, the people who directly or indirectly abetted sati were declared guilty of “culpable homicide.” This movie failed the efforts of our social reformers by glorifying Jauhar and Sati in the name of honour.Later, Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 was enacted by the Government of Rajasthan in 1987. It became an Act of the Parliament of India with the enactment of The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 in 1988 under Ministry of Women and Child Development (Government of India). The objective of the Act is to prevent Sati practice or the voluntary or forced burning or burying alive of widows, and to prohibit glorification of this action through the observance of any ceremony, the participation in any procession, the creation of a financial trust, the construction of a temple, or any actions to commemorate or honor the memory of a widow who committed sati.Before discussing the problems in the direction, I really don’t understand as to Why a Director of present times would want to glorify anything but Sati? Why a director would want to misdirect Rajput pride and valour? Also, why the right wing fanatics and the so called fringe elements like Karni Sena would still oppose it?A lot has been already written about the controversy and I never thought I will get into this but after watching the movie, I couldn’t help writing this. Contrary to the objections raised by the fanatic rajput groups, the movie validates all the folklore about surrounding the Rajput pride, valour and honour which has shaped their social identities. This movie also asserts the upper class aggressive views of Hinduism, Islamophobia and gender biases put in position with historical and contemporary relevance.It is also important to underline the provisions under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution which gives all its citizens the Right to freedom of Speech and expression.Whether one likes it or not but Bhansali has all the right to speech and expression but we often forget that the rights can be restricted by reasonableness provided under Article 19(2). Article 19 (1) (a) cannot be read in isolation with Article 19 (2). I have not gone through everything that has been written about the controversy or the film but to the best of my knowledge I am yet to come across anyone who speaks about the legal provisions surrounding the act of glorification of Sati. The entire debate came down to the female protagonist and her waist being shown in the movie. Really? Pride and honour of a community has come to that? That dropped ‘i’ in Padmaavati got more attention than the most crucial question in the entire episode. Neither the judiciary nor the state governments banning the movie could come up with any concrete reasons to justify their actions. The entire controversy was about the wrong people fighting for the wrong reasons. Coming back to the movie, Sanjay Leela Bhansaali has been a phenomenal director so far the art work is considered. The larger than life portrayal of characters with grandeur representation is a visual treat in the best way possible. It has everything good for the eyes. I always thought, one wants to tell a story because he wants to convey something, something that he believes in, something that he want more people to know etc. Somehow, I have never understood what drives him to make movies like Goliyon ki raas leela- Ram Leela, Baajirao-Mastaani or a Padmaavat and take huge risks. His movies are no different than the quintessential 70’s movies but with great costumes, jewelries and spectacularly regal backdrop. All his movies try to portray the female lead as the protagonist but fails to do so when she’s made to succumb to the rituals of the society. All his movies have a love triangle where lust, love, sacrifice is overplayed and exaggerated. All his movies try to depict the female lead as the most beautiful creatures and there are unnecessary praises about her looks and features which has nothing to do with the plot of the movie. It tries to showcase the fake standards of beauty and gait a woman should have which I find unreal. Hence it is unfair to judge the movie on historical facts or call it some historical or period drama, it is just another movie with better visual.Padmaavat is no exception and in fact, it  is worse because of the glorification of Sati in the end. The last few minutes of the film where the Rajput “honour” is saved when the female protagonist commits suicide, the scene is magnificent and vacuous at the same time. The entire Jauhar plot and the cinematography looks stunning on screen but what’s the point of having that depiction at all? The scene is shot in a way that it can convince the audiences that Jauhar  is something we should be proud of which I  found regressive. The director has his rights to express himself but that glorification was not required and in fact it is a punishable offence.It is ironic to see Karni Sena behave like hooligans when the entire movie is an extension of their thought process and purpose of their very existence. Padmaavat is a wonderful propaganda movie to showcase the orthodoxies surrounding Rajput women. Much like our politicians, the movie has a message for girls: The only value you have is in your “honour”, in your body. Bhansali and the cast received so many threats even before the release when nobody knew what exactly the plot was about. On the contrary, I see no one talking about the regressive portrayal of women’s honour after the release. This movie is nothing but a reiteration of regressive social conditioning a women is supposedly brought up with since time immemorial. We are a nation where we care much more about the interpretation of a text like Padmaavat, whose historicity is itself questionable. At the same time, we don’t really care about the regressive message the movie intentionally or unintentionally tries to deliver. Here, it is unfortunate that we are fighting over a fictional character and not the real issue. The question is, what purpose does this romanticism of a social vice with the help of methodological fallacies of literature serve in the 21st century?We as a nation have failed to raise the right issues at the right time while the authorities and law failed to have taken it’s recourse to set things right when we failed to do so. And if they thought the movie was justified to do so, the government machinery still failed to maintain law and order or rather they didn’t had the political will to do so. A nation’s conscience failed when the states could not safeguard the orders of the Supreme Court of India itself. Maybe, they don’t really recognize the importance of having an apex court at the first place.The SC in 2011 ruled that the state governments cannot ban a film, which has been cleared by the censor board for public screening, on the apprehension that it could cause a law and order problem. The court said: “It is for the state to maintain law and order effectively and meaningfully.” Such discussion on social issues bring about awareness for effective working of the democracy,” the bench said. It is unfortunate that the SC had to pass a similar order yet again when there are so many other important cases pending before it.All the State had to do is to execute the order of the SC and use it’s powers under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, to issue order in urgent cases of nuisance of apprehended danger. They could have easily arrested them before they indulged in public nuisance activities under Section 141 of Indian Penal Code (Unlawful assembly). It was so convenient and irresponsible for the states to go for the ban instead of taking care of the situation.The entire row has been a great waste of energy and resources. It is a failure of law and a Nation’s conscience where we indulge in rhetoric rather than try to achieve something real. We are a nation that defends the modesty of a fictional women by threatening a real one who portrays her.

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