Bollywood movie ‘Padmaavat’ still a no-go for local cinemas

A cinemagoer takes a selfie in front of a poster of Bollywood movie ‘Padmaavat’ outside a movie theatre in Kochi January 25, 2018. — Reuters pic
A cinemagoer takes a selfie in front of a poster of Bollywood movie ‘Padmaavat’ outside a movie theatre in Kochi January 25, 2018. — Reuters pic

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PETALING JAYA, Jan 31 — The wait is still on. Bollywood movie enthusiasts will still need to continue hoping if they can catch the screening of Padmaavat after the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF) rejected the distributor’s appeal for a previous ban.

A report in The Star quoted Antenna Entertainment managing director Liza Anand who said the ban was upheld after LPF reviewed the film and maintained their stance.

Liza was quoted saying LPF stated the movie, depicting the story of Queen Padmavati, has elements that touch on Muslim sensitivities, in particular the villainous portrayal of Sultan Alauddin Khilji.

In the movie, Alauddin is apparently so taken by Padmavati’s beauty until he decides to wage war against her husband, another ruler, in order to win her over.

“I do not think having (Alauddin) as a bad person in a film should be an issue. The film does not reflect any situation in Malaysia, I feel the reason given is unjustified,” Liza was quoted by the daily.

The movie was scheduled to for release in over 90 cinemas throughout the country on Jan 25.

However, over the weekend Antenna Entertainments announced on its Facebook page the film’s release had to be postponed, where LPF confirmed on Monday they had banned the film.

Liza had said her company had spent up to RM116,961 (US$30,000) on marketing Padmaavat in Malaysia.  

She was quoted claiming to expect at least RM5million raked in at the local box office.

“It is a magnificent film that touches on love and sacrifice. It is about how far a husband would go to protect his wife. I am sad that Malaysians cannot watch it here,” she was quoted saying in the daily.

Liza said she was waiting for LPF to provide her with a full report on the decision to uphold the ban.

“We need to see the report before deciding what to do next. We are open to any suggestions, such removing certain scenes and making the necessary cuts,” said Liza.

Several fans took to Facebook to vent out their frustration over the situation.

“Do they even understand the content of the film? We will watch it in Singapore,” Aruun Kumarr Athikumanan was quoted saying in the daily.

Mohd Asri Jusoh echoed the sentiments, saying: “No more hope for Padmaavat in Malaysia. Anyone nak but trip ramai2 tengok kat Singapore CNY ni?” [Translated Does anyone want to join a group excursion to watch the movie in Singapore this Chinese New Year?]

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