Malaysia bans Padmaavat for touching on ‘sensitivities of Islam’


KUALA LUMPUR: It appears that Padmaavat’s woes are far from over as the Malaysian Censor Board has placed a ban on the movie over concerns regarding “sensitivities of Islam”.

Malaysia’s National Film Censorship Board (LPF) has barred filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat from releasing in the country.

LPF chairman Mohammed Zamberi Abdul Aziz said in a statement that the storyline of the film itself is of grave concern as “Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country.”

“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,” Aziz said.

Based on the poem Padmavat by 16th-century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s, the film was embroiled in controversies in India after protests from a Rajput outfit Shri Rajput Karni Sena over allegations that the movie distorts historical facts and dents the pride of the Rajput community. The film was eventually released in India on January 25, 2018.

Post-release, the film has had mixed reviews. It has been criticised by some sections for glorifying not just jauhar (self-immolation) and also for showing Alauddin Khilji as a demon-like figure.

The distributor in Malaysia is expected to appeal the LPF decision to a separately constituted Film Appeals Committee on Tuesday.

Malaysia has a history of banning movies that are widely distributed elsewhere in the world. Last year, it banned Disney’s Beauty and the Beast because of its gay moment, before relenting and allowing it a PG13 certificate.

The country also prosecuted filmmaker Lena Hendry last year, for holding a private screening of a documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka.

Rights advocacy groups say that Malaysia’s censorship laws are used in an arbitrary fashion and that they are stunting Malaysian filmmaking, which is losing market share and is increasingly focused on genre titles.