Today, The Supreme Court dismissed a petition calling for a ban on the last scene of the Deepika Padukone starrer Padmaavat. According to reports, the petition, which was filed by Swami Agnivesh, called for a ban on the last scenes of the movie alleging that it promotes the ‘Sati’ system.
— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2018
According to reports, the petition filed by Agnivesh also sought for an FIR to be lodged against the producers and director of the movie on charges of promoting a social evil.
The Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Deepak Mishra, which also included justices AM Khanwaliker and Justice DY Chandrachud reportedly observed that deletion of scenes cannot be directed in a movie after it has been cleared by the CBFC. CJI Mishra also asked the petitioners if they think it is possible anyone can perform the Sati by merely watching a movie.
CJI Dipak Misra while dismissing the petition of Swami Agnivesh, observed, ‘do you think anyone will commit Sati by looking at the film? Women empowerment has increased in all these years.’ #Padmaavat
— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2018
Previously several states had banned the movie but the SC had on January 18 restrained the ban and prevented other states from banning the movie. The movie was released all over India on January 25. There are conflicting reports as to whether the Swami Agnivesh petition mentioned Sati or Jauhar in its allegation. If the petition stated Sati, it was factually wrong because the movie does not feature any such act. Also if the petition states the movie was promoting Jauhar, the idea is equally wrong considering Jauhar was committed to escape enslavement and rape by Islamic invaders.
Swami Agnivesh himself is a controversial character and has met with severe criticism by Hindu priests and Hindu groups. Many have even called him anti-Hindu. There were widespread protests in 2005 when Agnivesh had demanded that the Puri Jagannath Temple be opened to non-Hindus. In May 2011, hundreds of Hindu priests protested against Agnivesh’s claim that ice stalagmite that they believe resembles Lord Shiva is just a piece of ice;
There were widespread protests and criticism both before and after the release of the movie. Before the movie release, Congress backed Rajpur Karni Sena carried out many protests and had issued violent statements. Cities like Ahmedabad and Gurgaon even witnessed violence during the movie’s release. Many eminent intellectuals had also gone forward to allege that the movie promotes patriarchy.
The movie was based on Malik Mohammad Jayasi’s Padmaavat and after the censor board’s direction, its name was changed to ‘Padmaavat’ from the earlier title of ‘Padmavati’ to reassert that it is based on the literary work and not history. The movie was highly successful and reportedly went ahead to collect Rs 500 crores worldwide.