The Rajput Samaj of UK on Thursday launched a boycott against the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial film ‘Padmavati’ in the country after the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) cleared the film without any cuts. The registered charity, which defines its aim as instilling the cultural values of the Rajput people in the United Kingdom, said it has written to the BBFC to revoke its certification for the film to prevent its release in Britain.
“This film distorts our history, culture and traditions and when it has been boycotted by so many states in India, the filmmakers are trying to use a clever approach of getting the film released in the UK,” said Mahendrasinh Jadeja, the president of Rajput Samaj of UK.
The Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh starrer, which has faced widespread protests in India forcing the producers to indefinitely delay a planned December 1 release date, was given a 12 A certificate for UK audiences on account of “moderate violence, injury detail” this week.
The board, which is yet to comment on the Rajput Samaj’s boycott, describes the film as a “Hindi language epic drama in which a Sultan leads an invasion to capture a Rajput Queen” with a release date specified as December 1, 2017. However, the producers of the film, Viacom 18, have indicated that the release of the film in the UK will be “in line with the India release”.
“How can we trust anything they say. They have already broken so many reassurances in the past,” said Jadeja, who says his group is ready to march up to the UK Parliament in protest unless the film’s release is blocked in the country.
Unlike in India, the BBFC is not a government-linked body and operates as an independent certification board with income derived solely from the fees it charges for its services, calculated by measuring the running time of films, DVDs and videos and other works submitted for classification. A 12A certificate in the UK refers to films that are not deemed suitable for children under the age of 12 and no one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult.
It is among the common certificates awarded to Bollywood films besides U or Universal and suitable for audiences of all ages, and PG for films requiring Parental Guidance.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Viacom18 Motion Pictures on this exciting new release. ‘Padmavati’, has all the makings of a hit film and we are excited to bringSanjay s incredible vision to audiences across the international market place,” said Megan Colligan, spokesperson for Paramount Pictures, which has struck a partnership with Viacom 18 to distribute the film in all international markets.
A number of Hindu and Rajput groups in India have been protesting over a rumoured dream sequence of romance between the Rajput queen, played by Padukone, and Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji, played by Singh.