New Video! Padmavati, Politics, and the Problem of Wide Release

I like the content of this video, but I don’t like my hair quite as much.  But content is good!  Which is almost as important as appearance 🙂  Oh, and it’s related to this post, but puts in some new info and a slightly different spin.

Here’s the video:


13 thoughts on “New Video! Padmavati, Politics, and the Problem of Wide Release

  1. Agree about the hair! I saw that and thought you must really have been quite busy for it to be like that! LOL

    OK, about the video now:

    I agree with the wide release-controversy connection. That’s one reason why noone from the film fraternity is “standing with” Bhansali right now. Because they know it’s good publicity and noone wants to be dragged into an increasingly politicised debate which has nothing to do with the content of the film because none of the protesters have seen it yet.

    But there are so many layers to this situation that it is nearly impossible to black/white it. First is the “the trouble is deliberately struck up for political gains by the ruling party”. that I find to be true because Viacom 18 can have the trouble go away really easily.

    Second is the fact that Rajasthan, the state to which Padmavati technically belongs, is going to the polls next year. So an identity based theme for social discourse is already being played in the media so that instead of real issues, people of the state might find it easier to side with the defenders of their identity and not the liberals. The Gujarat elections, various scandals and allegations against the right-wing also are a part of this equation.

    Now, you’ve bundled your point about Billu in with Padmavati which I see as being as a generalization. I say that because of the nature of “associations” and our system of complaints. In india, anyone with a political aspiration can register an association, recruit members and become a special interest group. The barber’s association that objected to Billu is like all the other associations we have including apartment societies.

    What happens is that a person of persons form a group or association, registers members and conduct activities- banners with names of office bearers etc. The top members of this association often keep in touch with the local grassroots level politicians and grassroots level workers of political parties. These groups hold social and religious events (Govinda, dandiya and sports events, etc) and these groups are the ones helping political parties organize shut downs or mobs, when needed. These groups are a dime a dozen. Since these people have easy access to politicians and political elements, it’s very easy for them to find a litigation lawyer looking to make a quick buck.

    That is why these groups go file an FIR with the local police station before they file complaints with the relevant regulatory body. If the group is a non-influential one, the star/producer gets his political contacts involved (CM of the state or an MP) and the FIR goes away. Sometimes the courts trash the complaint depending on how ridiculous it is. If the group is influential or has a solid backing, the stars/producers make a small concession or an alteration and the problem goes away. It’s the same principle as the traffic cop stopping you for an infringement and you negotiating with them or offering chai pani to get away with it.

    Sometimes the controversy is a part of the promotional strategy. Which is why alterations to the publicity material can be made so easily and so quickly. This is why hindi films have such long gaps between first look, teaser, trailers and actual release. To make sure any alterations can be made in case a controversy pops up. it’s accounted for and hoped for.

    As for why the theatre owners not asking the cops for protection, well, that depends on who owns the theatres. I don’t know how it works there, but here, you’ve got to have serious moolah to build a theatre. Film tickets are a great way to launder money. And to have enough money to launder means serious political connections. What small time special interest group is going to take on a politician backed theatre in a small town with very few big names? When the PK controversy erupted across India, the then CM of my state trolled his right wing rivals by making the film tax free! That’s where we’re at! Things are really quite sinister on the ground here.

    Padmavati itself is a problematic story with a problematic backstory and real-life repercussions. the sati system came from jauhar and the sick legacy of that “voluntary act” is the reason why we see such high rates of female infanticide and an especially oppressive form of patriarchy in that state.


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