Even as the British censors cleared the controversial film Padmavati for release on December 1, India's apex court said it will hear on November 28 a fresh plea seeking to block the release of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie outside India.
A source close to the film's makers said Padmavati won't release anywhere on December 1 -- its original release date which was deferred after the Indian censor board returned their application on grounds that it was incomplete.
"We are not releasing the film anywhere on December 1," the source told IANS.
A petitioner told the Supreme Court in New Delhi that "grave damage would be done to social harmony if the movie was allowed to be released abroad".
According to the official website of the British Board Of Film Classification (BBFC), Padmavati will be released "uncut" in the UK. But its release will now have to wait.
The makers are yet to secure a censor certificate in India, where Chief Ministers of at least four states have taken a stand against the release of the historical drama.
Starring Deepika Padukone with Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in key roles, the magnum opus tells the tale of Rani Padmavati, the legendary Mewar queen known for her beauty and intelligence as well as courage, her husband Maharawal Ratan Singh, a Rajput warrior king who fought to defend his kingdom and wife's honour, and Sultan Alauddin Khilji.
The movie, Bhansali says, is a tribute to the valour of legendary queen Padmavati. It is mired in controversy in India as Hindu groups backed by the BJP are up in arms against alleged "distortion of historical facts".
Bhansali has repeatedly rebuffed the charges but has been receiving brickbats.
A Haryana BJP leader had even offered a reward of Rs 10 crore to anyone who would "behead" Bhansali and the film's lead actress.
Such reactions have disturbed members of the film fraternity.
Masaan director Neeraj Ghaywan and Pihu helmer Vinod Kapri expressed concern, while veteran actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the controversy.
Shatrughan Sinha, a BJP MP, said: "I'd like to say it's too late for our dynamic Prime Minister and the other high command to stay silent. 'Padmavati' is a raging issue. And the fringe elements are openly issuing threats. How can the high command keep quiet when goons are threatening to behead Bhansali and Deepika Padukone?
"It's time for our honourable Prime Minister to say 'enough is enough'. If you give the goons a free reign, they will continue to cross limits in ways we wouldn't be able to control," he said.