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Bollywood movie ‘Padmaavat’ banned in Malaysia for ‘portraying Islam in bad light’

KUALA LAMPUR: Malaysia on Friday banned “Padmaavat”, a Bollywood epic that has enraged Hindu radicals in India, saying that it portrayed Islam in a bad light.

The national censorship board said it took the tough measure “because the plot of the movie gave a bad image about Islam through the role played by a (Muslim) sultan,” it said in a statement.

Authorities turned down an appeal by the local distributor against the banning of the hit Indian film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

In India, the movie has fuelled anger among hardline Hindu activists over its portrayal of a legendary Hindu queen which led to the film sets being vandalised.

Muslims make up 60 percent of multi-ethnic Malaysia’s 32 million population.

The country has previously banned movies that it feared could hurt religious sensitivities, including Hollywood biblical epic “Noah” and “The Passion of the Christ”.

It has also occasionally pulled the plug on live shows by foreign artists out of fear of angering conservative Muslims.

Conservatives cry foul over concerts by Western artists whom they accuse of promoting promiscuity, corrupting young people or offending religious sensitivities.

Padmavati is a fictional character. The film stars popular actress Deepika Padukone, who was the target of Rajput groups who were against its release. A BJP politician was ordered to apologize publicly by his party after he offered a reward for anyone who beheaded Padukone for her portrayal of Queen Padmavati.

Despite the suggested modifications by a special committee, a group that says it represents Rajputs vowed to keep protesting against the movie.



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