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HomePoliticsIndiaBengal’s minister opposes Padmavati, contradicting Mamata

Bengal’s minister opposes Padmavati, contradicting Mamata


Kolkata: West Bengal’s consumer rights minister Sadhan Pande has said that a film on a historical plot should be carefully made. By issuing this statement, the minister has, in effect, opposed the stand taken by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on the issue a few days ago, where she had batted for a filmmaker’s creative freedom.

Pande said that while he supported the freedom of expression of the director and actors of a film, a falsehood couldn’t be inserted into the plot with the excuse that it is a dream sequence. “The director has no right to distort history,” the minister said, adding that the Central Board of Film Certification must censor such scenes.

This is a significant development as the Trinamool Congress was so far the only ruling party in any of the that had come in support of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s creative freedom while chief ministers ranging from Rajasthan’s Vasundhara Raje to Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath, Punjab’s Captain Amarinder Singh to Madhya Pradesh’s have objected to Bhansali’s attempt to ‘hurt the sentiments of Rajputs’.

“The controversy over Padmavati is unfortunate,” Banerjee had said, comparing the postponement of the release of the film with Emergency of 1975. She had said that a certain political party — she did not name the Bharatiya Janata Party — was curbing people’s freedom of expression as a part of its well thought out designs. With the statement of Pande, Trinamool Congress ceases to be the glorious exception in this debate.

While condemning the threats issued to actress Deepika Padukone, Pande said that Padmavati (also known as Rani Padmini) was an illustrious character in history; she is a matter of pride for the said community. A filmmaker working on such a character should be careful, Pande said.

However, this is not the first time Pande has courted trouble in the party ruling West Bengal. When he had taken a stand on the standoff in the Jadavpur University, he was rebuked by Banerjee.

Pande may well not be in the good books of his party’s supreme leader. Before their mutual differences over the of affairs of the university surfaced, the chief minister had reprimanded him in January this year during the meeting of the core committee of the Trinamool Congress held at the ancestral residence of Banerjee in Kalighat. “You are not doing the kind of work you have been claiming to do in advertisements,” the chief minister had said to the consumer rights minister.

Hindusthan Samachar/Ashoke Sengupta

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