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Shabana Azmi urges film fraternity to boycott IFFI over threats to Padmavati team

The veteran actress questioned the CBFC’s decision to ask the film's producers to send it afresh for certification.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

Veteran actress Shabana Azmi has hit out at the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), popularly known as the censor board, for its decision to ask the makers of Padmavati to send their film afresh for certification.

A CBFC member had told that the film was sent back because the makers wanted a 3D certificate but had erred in sending a 2D copy. 

Azmi, arguably one of the finest actresses Hindi cinema has produced, posted a series of tweets not only slamming the CBFC but also calling upon the film industry to boycott the state-sponsored International Film Festival of India, the country's biggest film festival, which begins in Goa on Monday.

In her tweet, Azmi questioned the CBFC’s stand and wondered if this move was aimed at electoral gains for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

The BJP, which runs the central government, is facing a crucial and uncharacteristically tough election to the legislative assembly in Gujarat, where it has been ruling for the past 22 years.

Azmi also asked why Union information and broadcasting (I&B) minister Smriti Irani, herself a successful television artiste before becoming a politician, is keeping mum on the controversy over Padmavati. 

IFFI is already in the eye of a storm after some members of the festival jury resigned in protest against the I&B ministry's decision to drop two films — Sexy Durga (Malayalam) and Nude (Marathi) — from the Indian Panorama after they were chosen by the jury. In fact, the jury had chosen Nude to be the opening film of the Indian Panorama. Now, the independent Hindi film Pihu will have that honour.

Azmi equated Irani’s inaction to that of a former I&B minister, Har Kishen Lal Bhagat of the Congress, who went ahead and held the festival in Delhi in 1989 despite the sensational murder of playwright and filmmaker Safdar Hashmi by goons from his party.

Noted television journalist Anupama Chopra, also the director of the Mumbai film festival, has also urged those coming to IFFI to take up the cause of Padmavati. 

Azmi retweeted Chopra and urged the industry to boycott the festival this year, especially in the wake of threats of physical violence being held out to Padmavati director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and lead actress Deepika Padukone.


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