Jaipur: Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief will not be attending the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) this year. He was scheduled to take part in the session ‘Main air Woh’ - Conversations with myself on Sunday, January 28.
Explaining his absence in a statement released to the media, Joshi said, "Will not be attending JLF this year and must say will miss sharing great moments with literature and poetry lovers. I am doing this so that the dignity of the event does not get compromised or discomfort caused either to the organisers, fellow writers or the attendees. And also so that the lovers of literature get to focus on creativity and not controversy."
Sukhdev Singh, national president of a fringe group Shri Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena, had warned that members of his outfit will wave black flags at Joshi if he arrives. Other fringe groups had threatened violent protests. But organisers at the JLF had primed security for any untoward incident.
Sanjoy K Roy, the Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces, the annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said "we respect the stand taken by Prasoon Joshi, protests aren't a problem but violent protests are a big issue. In this place there is no space for hatred. He was very keen that this controversy doesn't drown out the ZeeJLF.”
Speaking of the controversy around the film Padmaavat, the censor board chief said, "I did my job and sincerely took a sensitive and balanced call. As I have said earlier, certification was done with due processes, incorporating valid suggestions whilst staying mindful to the concerns of the society as well as to the canvas of cinema. It’s sad that we are not relying on genuine peaceful dialogue. It’s important that we keep mutual trust and faith in each other and our institutions so that the issues don’t reach this far."
The Supreme Court had cleared the film for screening on January 25, 2018 after the governments in four states of Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had called for its ban.
In Rajasthan, distributors have refused to screen the film - which stars Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranvir Singh - citing protests across the state. Protestors shut down the Delhi-Jaipur highway on Thursday and the Chittor Fort, which provides the historical backdrop for the film, had to be shut down as members of the Karni Sena tried to enter.
There were other violent protests in many areas in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh - ostensibly by the Rajput Karni Sena. They believe that the film shows the Rajput queen Padmavati in poor light and distorts history.
The Multiplex Association of India has said its members would not screen the film in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa. The association is said to control over 75 percent of the multiplex screens in the country.