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Malaysia becomes first international country to ban Padmavat

Malaysia

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Malaysia has become the first international country to ban the screening of ‘Padmavat’ after its Film Censorship Board placed the movie in its ‘not approved’ list. The board claims the content of the movie may incite hatred and ‘communal uneasiness’ in the country.

Home Ministry issued an official statement on Friday February 2nd in which they stated the movie has negatively portrayed the Muslim ruler, Alauddin Khilji who is shown to be a demon-like figure.

“He is portrayed as a Sultan who is arrogant, cruel, inhumane, devious with all kinds of trickery, unreliable and who does not fully practice Islamic teachings,” the ministry said in a statement.

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The courts also rejected the appeal filed by the distributor of the movie against the decision of the Home Ministry. Malaysia’s censor board is the ultimate arbiter in terms of allowing or disallowing a film from screening. Its verdict cannot be questioned by any court of law.

The Censorship board justified their tough decision by adding that the movie gives a bad image of Islam. Censor board chairman Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz said in a statement that the film is of concern since “Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country”.

“The storyline of the film touches on the sensitivities of Islam. That in itself is a matter of grave concern in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country,” Aziz said in a statement. On the appeal filed in court against the decision Aziz said: “Currently, LPF is unable to provide further comments as the film distributor has submitted an appeal to the appeals committee.

Read more: UK cinemas to be torched for ‘Padmavati’ screening

“Therefore, further comments will only be issued after the appeals committee has made its decision,” Aziz said. Malaysia has a Muslim majority of 60% of its total population. The country has previously banned movies that it feared could hurt religious sensitivities, including Hollywood biblical epic “Noah” and the famous Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ”.

In 2017, it also banned Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for a short period because it depicted homosexuality. It later relented and issued it a a PG13 certificate.

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