FINALLY, THE NATION watched Padmawati. And Karni Sena emerged victorious. The nation has given a certificate to Padmawati, and to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, of producing a film that is "the greatest ever tribute to Rajput pride.”
Also, the nation, also called the Republic, legitimised every threat to behead the film maker, every claim that Rajputs have not stopped cutting off women's noses, and every stone thrown at a cinema house.
The Nation Wanted An Answer - and has finally got one.
Arnab Goswami has watched the film, and the Republic, which clearly enjoys the sole right on behalf of the nation to seek answers, announced it to the world. In his shrieky 'address to the nation' style monologue, Arnab Goswami praised the film "because far from an intimate moment, Alauddin (Khilji) and Padmawati, that is, Ranvir (Singh) and Deepika (Padukone), don't even share one single frame together in the film.”
His praise was also hinged on the fact that "the romance between Rana Rattan Singh and Padmawati is subtle and so delicately portrayed.”
As per Arnab Goswami, Karni Sena will be left looking utterly foolish once this film hits the box office because it will not have any intimate scene between Khilji and Padmawati, not because it vandalised theatres, issued death threats, held the country to ransom.
The nation in search of an answer was also told that "there isn't even a nano second of vulgarity” in the film, and that "every scene in this film is a fluid cinematic tribute to Rani Padmawati's greatness.”
And most importantly, Arnab Goswami and the Republic TV also issued a certificate that lesser historians haven't had the guts to issue in decades of their research - that Padmawati is not just a myth, but is part of our history.
While doing all of that, Goswami did try to make out a case that Karni Sena was wrong to administer unannounced sudden beatings to innocent Indian citizens; shattering glass window panes, also called vandalising of theatres; and issuing assassination rate cards and threats of non-surgical chopping off of the part on a person's face containing nostrils used for breathing, smelling and scoffing at fake nationalist agendas.
As chief minister after chief minister is lending his/her voice to the cause being professed primarily by the violence-loving, nosechop-expert, theatre-vandalising Karni Sena, this militia army fighting ostensibly for some peculiar notion of Rajput pride has a cause cause célèbre in Arnab Goswami.
Arnab Goswami has watched the film, and the Republic, which clearly enjoys the sole right on behalf of the nation to seek answers, announced it to the world. Quickly, it also issued a certificate, much faster than Censor Board does.
So, if the film has any scene that shows Deepika Padukone and Ranvir Singh in a single frame, Karni Sena is absolutely right in doing what it is doing - basically, opposing the film. Of course, when you are fighting for the pride of a community, then you cannot take the word of a night news TV anchor at its face value. Karni Sena had to check it out.
If the romance between Rana Rattan Singh and Padmawati is portrayed in a manner that is not so subtle or delicate, Karni Sena has a very just cause for which it must be excused for falling back on the time honoured tradition of chopping women's noses.
As per Arnab Goswami, Karni Sena will be left looking utterly foolish once this film hits the box office because it will not have any intimate scene between Khilji and Padmawati, not because it vandalised theatres, issued death threats, held politics, governance, media, anchors and journalism to ransom.
For every moment that you discussed Padmawati and Karni Sena, you did not discuss the problem that a young woman in Meerut, Jyoti Thakur, faced. She tried to contact Narendra Modi, Yogi Adityanath, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Smriti Irani and Amit Shah because she needed help to transport her sick cow 200 kms away — from Meerut to Bareilly.
No, there was no threat from Karni Sena to Jyoti Thakur. That sena variety is different. Ironically, that variety is called 'defenders', or rakshaks of some sort.
As per Arnab Goswami, Karni Sena is wrong because he has watched the film and it does not show a romance between Deepika and Ranvir Singh.
Ergo, Karni Sena would have been not just right, but righteous, if the movie had shown a romance, or even a whiff of romance, between Khilji and Padmawati.
After announcing that "Viewers, I have just come back from a screening of Padmawati...Today I watched Padmawati,” Arnab Goswami told the nation, "Those people ravaging theatres and threatening nose cuts and acid attacks will be laughed at across India and they will look like clowns. Their vandalism will look politically sponsored.” All because "there isn't even a nano second of vulgarity” in the film.
Aha! That's music for Karni Sena's ears.
One nano-second of what any senior member of the Karni Sena considers "vulgarity,” and nose chops can be back on the menu. After all, vulgarity lies in the eye of the beholder. Or was it beauty? Well, my mom and dad, both in their mid-70s, rarely hold hands but when they do, we see beauty in it. I am sure a committed member of the Taliban would have seen vulgarity in that in the days soon after Gulbuddin Hekmatyar lost power.
Sexy Durga does have a "whiff of vulgarity” in the eyes of many people. The jury got it wrong.
Listen to this snippet from Goswami's harangue – "If the version shown to me is the version that goes to the theatres, then viewers, this film is the greatest ever tribute to Rajput pride...every moment of this film is devoted to only one thing repeatedly — the valour of the Rajput tradition.”
Imagine how justified Karni Sena would be in dealing with a film maker tomorrow with its pre-announced modus operandi — assassination/nose chopping — if he were to make a film or a speech questioning the notion of committing johar (self-immolation) as an indicator of pride. Arnab Goswami has already put a stamp on the legitimacy of such actions by saying the militia is wrong in protesting against Padmawati because the film only underlines Rajput pride.
A little more than a month ago, members of the Arya Vysya caste had attacked the very well regarded author, Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, the director of the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad, because his monograph accused the Arya Vysyas of "cultural and economic exploitation” against the marginalised.
Since Arnab Goswami says film is alright because it does not show Ranvir and Deepika in a single frame, Karni Sena's job is done. That means, if the film had any scene that had showed Deepika Padukone and Ranvir Singh in a single frame, Karni Sena would have been absolutely right in doing what it has done - issue death threats and statements about chopping off women's noses.
That was a clear criticism of a caste. Kancha received death threats for his academic work. And no one can say there was no criticism of the Arya Vysyas in his work. Nose chop job, anyone?
The worse question one can raise while criticising someone for demanding a ban on the film is — "Have you even seen the film?”
That would mean that if you have watched the film and have found a just cause, then forget the censor board, you should be heard and you have a plausible cause to vandalise.
The worst answer a journalist can bring to the studio is: "Viewers, I have watched the film, and it is beautiful. Those demanding a ban on it will look foolish because they have not watched the film and are wrongly opposing it.”
Down this road, you will meet a variety of cinema called Sderot cinema
. Google it to find out what kind of cinema that is, but that is the final evolution of any Karni Sena.
Calling its bluff needs more than watching a film. Sometimes, you just need to stand by the law and the Constitution and refuse to watch the film, and still defend the people's right to make and watch that film.
The Nation Needs An Answer, but before that, it needs to ask the right question.
"Have you watched the film?” is not that question. "I have watched the film” is not that answer.
And you are not the nation. Or the republic.
Arnab Goswami and the Republic TV also issued a certificate that lesser historians haven't had the guts to issue in decades of their research - that Padmawati is not just a myth, but is part of our history.
After nose, here’s about fingers and hands
Hours after Goswami's certificate to Padmawati that it is a good film and that he has personally watched it and there is nothing against Rajput pride in it, BJP’s Bihar chief Ujiyarpur Nityanand Rai has said any fingers, hands raised against PM Narendra Modi will be broken, chopped off. All the BJP leader has to do now is to prove that some fingers and hands were indeed raised against the PM.
In the 1500s, an emperor could say about a comedian, "Off with his head. It was too bad a joke."
In 2017, an anchor can make an assessment about that same joke and come to the conclusion that it was not really funny, and that would vindicate the emperor, though 500 years too late.
The problem was clearly in the joke. Not with the chopping off of the head. (Nose jobs came later.)
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