Malaysia bans ‘Padmaavat’ over ‘bad image’ of Khilji

Malaysia banned the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed “Padmaavat”, with the government saying the depiction of a Muslim ruler in the period-drama gives a “bad image” of Islam, according to a media report.

Malasyia’s home ministry said the character of Alauddin Khilji, the antagonist in the movie, was depicted as “arrogant, cruel and inhumane”, the Free Malaysia Today reported.

“This was bad for Islam’s image as the sultan (Khilji) was shown as representing an Islamic sultanate,” the report quoted the home ministry as saying.

On January 29, the country’s National Film Censorship Board (LPF) had banned the film’s screening in the country, saying it touched on the “sensitivities of Islam”.

“The storyline of the film touches on the sensitivities of Islam. That in itself is a matter of grave concern in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country,” LPF chairman Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz had said.

Malaysia’s Film Appeal Committee had also rejected an appeal by the movie’s distributors in the country to lift the ban.

“Unfortunately, the film is still banned. LPF reviewed the film on Friday and decided to uphold the ban,” Antenna Entertainments’ managing director Liza Anand was quoted as saying by the Star online.

Antenna Entertainments had estimated RM5 million (approximately Rs 8 crore) in box-office takings in Malaysia.

The film, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, is based on the 16th century epic, “Padmaavat” by poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi.

The film faced controversy at home as well after various Rajput groups accused Bhansali of “distorting historical facts” with the portrayal of queen Padmavati, a claim repeatedly denied by the filmmaker.

The film was released on January 25 in India after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared it last month with a ‘U/A’ certificate and five modifications, including title change from “Padmavati” to “Padmaavat”.

In Pakistan, another Muslim-majority country, the censor board had cleared film without any cuts for screening with a ‘U’ certification. PTI