Deepika and Shahid in a still from the film. Photograph:( Others )
Sanjay Leela Bhansali appeared in front of a Parliamentary committee on Thursday afternoon to present his point of view on his film Padmavati. While protest around the film continues, Bhansali categorically stated that he had not distorted the historical facts about the 16th-century Rajput queen in his film.
According to sources, the director presented his point of view in front of a 30 member panel which was headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur and also included LK Advani and Congress' Raj Babbar.
"All the controversy over the film is based on rumours. I have not distorted facts. The film is based on a poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi," Bhansali was quoted as saying by a news agency. Jayasi poem was called 'Padmavat'.
The director was grilled for two hours by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT as he appeared before it in Parliament House with Prasoon Joshi, who heads the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Bhansali was also questioned by the panel on why he had screened the movie for a few select journalists even before it was cleared by the censor board.
"We don`t intend to hurt anyone's sentiments," Bhansali told the 30-member panel.
The director has been given time till December 14 to reply to the panel.
The film has been courting controversy over assumptions that it has a dream sequence depicting romance between Rajput warrior queen Padmini and Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji. The director has categorically denied filming any such scene.
The sources said a few members also claimed Bhansali's films tended to "target" communities, triggering tensions. They said the panel also asked Bhansali whether he is trying to promote Jauhar, a ritual of self-immolation practised in Rajasthan, in his film at a time when Sati is banned in the country.
Censor board chief Joshi, appearing before the Parliamentary panel on petitions, said the board had not approved the film and will consult experts for this.
The Rajput Karni Sena, an organisation of the Rajput community, has urged a nationwide ban on Bhansali`s Padmavati. Activists of the Sena and some other groups have been protesting against the movie, claiming it "distorts" historical facts.
As many as six states, including Rajasthan, have already announced that they will not release the film while the Supreme Court on Tuesday took exception to people holding official positions making "prejudicial comments" about the movie, saying these breached the principle of rule of law.
The apex court asked when the matter was pending for consideration before CBFC, how could persons in public authority comment on whether the censor board should issue a certificate or not.