Movie censorship

After months of protest, Karni Sena says it is ready to watch ‘Padmaavat’ before its release

The group was responding to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s invitation, a leader said.

The Rajput Karni Sena, the group whose protests have played a major role in the controversy around the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Padmaavat, indicated on Monday that it was ready to watch the film ahead of its release on January 25, PTI reported.

The Karni Sena was reacting to director Bhansali’s invitation. “We are ready to watch the film,” Karni Sena leader Lokendra Singh Kalvi told PTI over the phone. “We never said that we will not watch the film.”

Kalvi added that Bhansali had promised to arrange a special screening a year ago. “Now he has written to us for the screening and we are ready for that,” Kalvi said. The Karni Sena’s decision seems like a softening of its stand over the film, after nearly a year of protests and just days after the group called Bhansali’s invitation a gimmick, according to IANS.

Bhansali’s production house wrote to the Karni Sena and the Rajput Sabha in Jaipur on January 20, inviting them to watch the film, the Hindustan Times reported. In the letter, the makers said the film showcased the honour and valour of the Rajput community.

The release of the historical drama, based on a 16th century poem, has been mired in controversy for months. Padmaavat’s release and certification were delayed after repeated protests and threats of violence by Rajput groups led by the Karni Sena.

The Central Board of Film Certification then appointed a panel of historians to study if the film had any historical inaccuracies. The film was finally cleared for release on January 25, with a few changes and on the condition that its name is changed from Padmavati to Padmaavat.

The governments of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, however, said they will not screen Padmaavat. The Supreme Court set aside their orders on January 18, paving the way for the film’s release in these states. On Tuesday, the court is expected to hear pleas filed by the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments against this order.

Through Monday, protests against the film rocked several areas in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Noida.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

Play

The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.