Padmavati: Controversies, threats heighten as the release date draws near

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 16, 2017 14:19 hrs

As the release of the movie Padmavati draws nearer, the protest against it has also mounted up. In its wake, Uttar Pradesh's Home Department has written to the secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, urging it to convey the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) of the adverse impact of the protests on peace and harmony.

The letter also appeals for the certification board to take public sentiments into cognisance while granting certificate to the movie.

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The movie's December 1 release date also coincides with the counting of votes in the Uttar Pradesh local body elections, while the Islamic festival of Milad-un-Nabi is likely to fall on December 2, which is marked by large processions by the community. In light of both events, the ministry also suggested that the movie's release around the same time would not be in the interests of peace and order.

The period drama, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, has been facing protests from various groups, including Shri Rajput Karni Sena, for allegedly tampering with historical facts.

Now, the row has now taken an ugly turn as Mahipal Singh Makrana, president of Rajasthan unit of the Karni Sena outfit, has threatened Deepika Padukone with physical violence. He said will chop off her nose like Surpanaka if the movie releases.

The Karni Sena had earlier demolished the sets of the movie in Jaipur and also thrashed filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

The Karni Sena activists have amped up the act by staging protests in various parts of the country, covering Bangalore in the South as well. The protests have turned even more violent, as acts of vandalism in Rajasthan's Kota, reported ANI.

In the light of the event, the Rajasthan Police on Thursday said that the people protesting against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie Padmavatishould not take law and order into their hands.

"The protesters can stage demonstrations peacefully and can keep their demands in front but that all should be under law and order. We will take proper action if any situation violating law and order arises. Presently, the situation is under control. We will make strategy if needed and are ready for any upcoming situation," Rajasthan Director General of Police (DGP) Ajit Singh told ANI. 

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Yesterday, Rajput Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi warned of dire consequences if the release of Padmavati was not stalled.

Speaking to ANI, Kalvi said, "Jauhar ki jwala hai, bahut kuch jalega. Rok sako to rok lo (a lot will burn, stop if you can)."

On November 14, the Rajput Karni Sena members vandalised Aakash Mall in Rajasthan's Kota protesting the trailer of Padmavati.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had rejected a petition filed against the release of Padmavati, saying the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was yet to issue a certificate to the movie.

The court had added that the CBFC was an independent body and the court should not intervene in their jurisdiction.

The Maharashtra government has provided a precautionary security cover to Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali amidst increasing controversies and growing threats ahead of the release of his movie Padmavati, officials said, reported IANS.

The level of security provided to him is not yet clear, and Bhansali has so far not commented on it. However, the Indian Film and Television Directors' Association (IFTDA) has thanked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the security cover to Bhansali who lives and works in Mumbai.

"We have no words to express our gratitude for providing police protection to our esteemed member," filmmaker Ashoke Pandit said on behalf of the film fraternity.

"We commend your assurance to keep the law and order situation in control that speaks volumes of the efficiency of your staff and the police personnel," he said in a letter to Fadnavis.

Pandit also urged the state government to "help the victim" release his film without anybody's intrusion and with safety to Bhansali's life so that he continues to make memorable films and help the future generations learn from his legacy.

Bhansali has been facing the ire of various groups and self-styled experts on what they term as 'erroneous' depiction of Rajput queen Rani Padmavati.

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There have been protests and violence against Bhansali and opposition to the film right from the time it was being shot at various locales in different parts of India and now, as it prepares for release globally soon. Barring these groups and individuals, the entire film fraternity and civil society members have expressed support to Bhansali for his latest film venture.

In the wake of a controversy over the movie Padmavati, the Congress said if there are scenes that hurt the sentiments of a particular community the same need to be reviewed.

"I have not watched the movie as yet, but definitely the Central Board of Film Certification formulated and formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has seen it and passed it without cuts.

"But any movie that hurts the sentiments of any community... a film is not made to hurt any community," said Congress Spokesperson R.P.N. Singh.

Singh said that scenes if any, that hurt the sentiments of any community need to be reviewed. The Shri Rajput Karni Sena on Wednesday called for a 'Bharat Bandh' (shutdown) on December 1, if Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie Padmavati releases on that date, reported IANS.

However, the film fraternity is supporting the film and its stars.

Actress Richa Chadda backed Sanjay Leela Bhansali's upcoming Padmavati, saying "our culture is not so fragile that a film can ruin it".

"On the other hand, we are living in a democratic country where we have an appointed board that certifies our film, I see no reason for commenting on a film without watching it," said Richa, who has acted in Bhansali's Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela.

Superstar Salman Khan has also extended his support to the celebrated filmmaker, saying Bhansali will never show anyone in bad light.

Karan Johar and Aditi Rao Hydari have also extended their support.

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