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 fueled anger among hard-line Hindu activists over its portrayal of a legendary Hindu queen which led to the film sets being vandalized. 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.