KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Friday banned Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed “Padmaavat” from being screened in Malaysian theatres saying 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.
According to Reuters reports, citing the movie’s negative portrayal of Sultan Alauddin Khilji, the authorities barred the screening of Bollywood epic in the Muslim-majority Malaysia.
“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.
Muslims make up 60 percent of multi-ethnic Malaysia’s 32 million population.
Bhansali’s magnum opus stars Deepika Padukone in the lead role of Rani Padmini, Shahid Kapoor essays the role of Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh portrays Alauddin Khilji, the 13th Century ruler of the Khilji Dynasty.
The film is based on the legend of Rani Padmini, a 13th century Hindu Rajput queen, mentioned in Padmavat, an Awadhi poem written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540.
The country has previously banned movies that it feared could hurt religious sensitivities, including Hollywood biblical epic “Noah” and “The Passion of the Christ”.
The movie has fuelled anger among hardline Hindu activists who accused Bhansali of “distorting historical facts” with the portrayal of a legendary Hindu queen Padmavati, a claim repeatedly denied by him.