Central Board of Film Certification chief Prasoon Joshi, facing the heat of hooligansfor okaying the release of Padmaavat, on Saturday announced that he will not attend the Jaipur Literature Festival this year where he was invited as a speaker, saying that "lovers of literature should get to focus on creativity and not controversy."
"Will not be attending JLF this year and must say will miss sharing great moments with literature and poetry lovers," Joshi said in a statement.
He said that he came to the dicision keeping in view the "discomfort" that might be caused to the organisers. "I am doing this so that the dignity of the event does not get compromised or discomfort caused either to the organisers, fellow writers or the attendees. And also so that the lovers of literature get to focus on creativity and not controversy."
Joshi was supposed to be part of a session at the JLF on January 28. Commenting on the same, the president of the fringe group Mahipal Singh Makrana had tolda daily that, "We don’t want to hear his lecture. He has put the pride of Rajasthan at stake. How can he deliver a lecture here after humiliating us? People of Rajasthan don’t want such lectures. We will protest against him."
Not just the literature festival, the fringe group asked the poet-lyricist not to even set a foot in Rajasthan, alleging that Joshi misled the Supreme Court by clearing the film without taking in consideration the Rajput sentiments.
In his statement, Joshi further clarified his decision to clear the film despite a slew of protests asking to stall the release. He said that he "did my job and sincerely took a sensitive and balanced call".
"As I have said earlier, certification was done with due processes, incorporating valid suggestions whilst staying mindful to the concerns of the society as well as to the canvas of cinema. It’s sad that we are not relying on genuine peaceful dialogue. It’s important that we keep mutual trust and faith in each other and our institutions so that the issues don’t reach this far."
Joshi was to be provided with Z level security during the JLF after Karni Sena had said last week that it would not allow him to attend the five-day festival which began on Thursday at the iconic Diggi Palace here.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh finally released on January 25 amid protests and vandalism by disgruntled groups which accused the filmmaker of "distorting historical facts" and wrongful portrayal of Queen Padmavati.
However, Bansali has repeatedly denied the allegations.