Speaking at the News 18 Rising India Summit in New Delhi Joshi said, “There were people who raised questioned as the name of the film was changed from Padmavati to Padmaavat. It was done in true spirit of the story which was a fictional account and based on Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem and we decided to stay true to it.”
The CBFC chief said, “Sanjay Leela Bhansali got to show the film he wanted to, what more do you want?” Upset at the news of the film going through 400 cuts, Joshi said, “There were reports on four hundred cuts. That was the way to shame us and our creative work.”
Bhansali was attacked by the fringe outfits like Karni Sena while he was busy shooting for Padmaavat. He was also attacked on social media. On being asked about the hostile behaviour of the fringe elements, Joshi said, “‘Fringe voice’ is a demeaning term. There is nothing called a fringe voice. These voices are not born overnight. We are sitting in one air-conditioned corner but that doesn’t mean we are not fringe for someone else.”
Joshi said the release of Padmaavat was excessively politicised. “We don’t live in suspended reality. Our present is born from the past and it has been burrowed into our subconscious,” he added.
Commenting on the conversation in social media, he said that this change has been possible because we live in a connected world now. “We have to understand that we are living in a new world where no model from the past can teach us. The people who did not have the manch (platform through technology) in the past are now making use of it. The whole world is facing the challenge,” he said.
Joshi was present with Smriti Irani, Minister of Information and Technology, who complimented him for keeping the sanctity of the Constitution by getting Bhansali’s film released. Joshi said that there is Cinematographic Act that provides the constitutional mandate and every country, including France, that is known for its progressive cinema, has a regulatory body formed by the government.
“Independent bodies like the CBFC are present in every part of the world and are driven by good thought. The sad part here is some people are using the CBFC as a tool to promote controversies. We have released 9,000 films and 82 per cent of them hit theatres without any change. Ours is a multi-layered society where we cannot change the mentality and sensibility of our people overnight. We don’t live in an asylum where only ‘my world’ exists,” the CBFC chief said.
Joshi replaced Pahlaj Nihlani, who earned the sansakri sobriquet for himself. However, Joshi thinks that the word ‘Sanskar’ is both used and abused. “Don’t we want to teach our children about ethics? We tell them about earning money but also about how to earn money according to the ethical standards. We need these ethical standards,” he said.