“Sanskriti Bachao Manch” activists protest against film maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie ‘Padmavati’ by burning his and the film’s posters, in Bhopal, Nov. 11. (Press Trust of India)
The controversy over ‘Padmavati’ took an ugly turn, Nov. 16, as a leader of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena cited Ramayana’s Surpanakha nose-chopping incident and warned her against “inciting” sentiments. Reacting to the development, the Mumbai police soon stepped up actor’s security.
Protests were, meanwhile, held in several parts of the country, including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, against the movie, which is slated to be released on Dec. 1.
Ajmer Dargah Deewan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan also joined the chorus of voices against the film and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban it, saying it hurt religious sentiments.
Earlier, referring to the nose chopping of ‘Surupnakha’ in the epic “Ramayana,” Karni Sena leader Mahipal Singh Makrana said that while Kshatriyas respected women, but if the film was not banned and Padukone does not stop inciting sentiments with her provocative language, the Rajputs will not lag behind in acting.
He asked why was Padukone, who has the citizenship of Denmark, speaking such provocative language?
Makrana claimed that a cinema hall in Kota was rampaged as a result of such provocative language.
“Shri Rajput Karni Sena has now just conveyed a lesson to Deepika Padukone to stop making provocative statements or face the result,” Makrana said.
Padukone had reportedly said that nothing could stop the release of the film and that India had regressed as a nation.
The Karni Sena leader said that when a movie like ‘Bahubali’ can earn crores showing the valor of ‘kshatriyas,’ then why people want to cash-in on films presenting wrong facts.
“Who are the people behind movies like Padmavati and are investing their money in such movies,” he said in a press conference.
“The Mumbai Police have increased actor Deepika Padukone’s security after the outfit issued the nose chopping threat,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti told PTI.
We are providing her adequate security after the threat, he said. The police will also provide security at the actress’s residence as well as office in Mumbai.
The police have already provided protection to filmmaker Bhansali. They have also beefed up security at Bhansali’s residence in Versova in Mumbai.
The Karni Sena has called for a country-wide bandh, Dec. 1, the day the film is slated to be released.
Meanwhile, Ajmer Dargah Deewan Khan compared Bhansali with controversial writers Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen and Tareq Fatah, and said Muslims should oppose the film.
He also said a film, in which historical facts were depicted in a distorted manner, could adversely affect the law-and-order situation if it was allowed to be screened in theatres.
Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor also waded in the controversy claiming in Mumbai that the “so called valorous maharajas” had scurried to accommodate themselves when the British “trampled” over their honor and were now after a filmmaker claiming prestige was at stake.
At an event, Tharoor was asked why his book, ‘An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India,’ had a “whiff of victimhood” when he holds that Indians had connived with the English.
“It is (our fault) and I say so. I actually don’t take the mantle of victimhood. In about half a dozen places in the book, I am harsh enough on us… Some British reviewers said ‘Why doesn’t he explain why the British conquered?’ And it’s a fair question…,” Tharoor said.
“In fact, every single one of these so called valorous maharajas, who today are after a Mumbai filmmaker because their honor is at stake, they were less concerned about their honor when the British were trampling all over it. They scurried to accommodate themselves. So, let’s face it, there is no question, that we were complicit,” he said.
Protests were held by various organizations in several parts.
The Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association, however, came to the film’s defense. The association wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking a smooth release of the film.