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UK Rajput groups protest over Padmavati certification

Vidya Ram London | Updated on January 09, 2018

The UK film body has given a 12A rating, which means a child under 12 years cannot watch it without an adult   -  DANISH SIDDIQUI

The British Board of Film Classification has given the green light to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati to be released in the UK on December 1.

While the film will not be released in Britain on this date, the BBFC’s decision has swiftly been contested by a Rajput organisation in Britain, which on Thursday wrote to the BBFC calling for the certification to be withdrawn.

Mahendrasinh Jadeja, President of the Rajput Samaj UK, told BusinessLine he had written to the BBFC calling for it to reverse its decision because of “community” considerations. “We believe it will have great community impact,” he said.

The group planned to visit the BBFC on Friday to press their case, and was considering further action including protests.

“We want an assurance that this film will not be released until the decision is made in India.” The film has been given a 12A rating by the BBFC, meaning that no child younger than 12 may see the film without an adult, and it has been passed without any cuts.

In its description of the film published this week, the BBFC describes the film as having “moderate violence, injury detail” and as a “Hindi language epic drama in which a Sultan leads an invasion to capture a Rajput Queen.” It is yet to publish the BBFCinsight on the film — a detailed account of the contents of the films rated by the regulator, targeted at parents, which explains the decision to rate a film in a particular way.

A handful of cinemas in Britain have begun listing the film on their website, though are yet to set dates for when it might be shown, including one in Birmingham, and Odeon, a popular cinema chain.

Viacom18 said earlier this week that it had voluntarily postponed the release of the film from December 1. “We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film,” they said earlier this week and on Thursday indicated that the delay would apply outside the UK too.

Dating back to the early 20th century, the BBFC is the regulator responsible for classifying and certifying films for release in the UK, both in cinemas and on television as well as in other formats such as DVD and video. Like most film regulators across the world the BBFC is no stranger to occasional controversies, such as its 2008 decision to classify the Batman film Dark Knight as 12A - a decision that triggered criticism from a number of parliamentarians, who argued it should have been higher.

In 2010, the BBFC lowered its classification of The King’s Speech from 15 to 12A after complaints from the distributor.

Among the handful of recent films to be banned by the BBFC are Hate Crime, a 2013 horror film centering on a Jewish family, and the 2011 film Bunny Game, because of its portrayal of sexual violence.

Published on November 23, 2017

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