Thursday, May 23, 2024

What’s this ‘alternate view’ Mr Bhansali?

“Alternate View par thappad nahin lagta sahib, Double Standard par lagta hai”

(You are not slapped on Alternative View sir. You could though be on double standards).

It is said that Cinema is a reflection of the society; in the same way as literature mirrors society. But if that’s so, how does this “mirror” gets the liberty to twist and distort history in the name of “Freedom of Expression”?

This part of folklore, in the language we have heard since our childhood, bears repetition;

“Yahan Pratap Ka Vatan Pala Hai, Aazadi ke Naaron Pe

Kood padi thi yahan hazaroon Padminiyan angaron pe

Bol rahi hai kan kan se kurbani Rajasthan ki

(This land of Maharana Pratap has been nursed on the slogans of Independence;

The land where thousands of Padminis had jumped in burning pyres

The land of Rajasthan where every stone speaks of its sacrifice)

While researching for the film, didn’t Sanjay Leela Bhansali know it or come to hear about it? After all, when you make a film on Rani Padmini, it’s impossible that you wouldn’t have heard of Malik Mohammad Jayasi’s “Padmavat.”

Jayasi had penned his most famous poem, “Padmavat” in 1540, two years before his death in 1542. It described the historic siege of Chittor by Alauddin Khilji in 1303AD, who had attacked Chittor on hearing the stunning beauty of Rani Padmini, the wife of King Rawat Ratan Singh.

When Rani Padmini earned her place in history only on accord of her jumping in raging fire to death, along with thousands of women, before Alauddin Khilji could lay his sinful eyes on her, then what’s this kind of “alternate view” where an affair between Khilji and Rani Padmini is being fitted in the devious imagination of Bhansali?  And if “alternative view” is so dear to you, sir, then why this hue and cry when protestors chose an “alternate” way to express their objection?

It then begs the question that from where organizations such as Karni Sena draw their strength? 

Karni Sena draws its inspiration from the same Bollywood which cry hoarse on the “freedom of expression” at a slap to Bhansali but chooses to cover itself in thermals when a “Fatwa” is issued against A.R. Rahman.

Karni Sena draws its strength from that Court which bans “Jallikattu” on its ostensible atrocity against animals but refuses to entertain a petition which seeks a ban on “BakrEid.”

Karni Sena draws its strength from that system which provides security to M.F. Hussain on the painter’s objectionable depiction of Hindu gods-goddesses but forces the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists to pay with their lives or beg on the streets.

Sure, “goondagardi (hooliganism)” ought not to be allowed to go scot-free, but for god’s sake, stop your own “intellectual goondagardi” in the name of Freedom of Expression.

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