Edited by: Alert India Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: November 20, 2017 22:20 IST ]
Whether it is publicity stunt for Bollywood OR Pollywood (Politicians) ?
Since Rajput organisation Karni Sena’s first protests against the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie Padmavati in January, several political leaders have voiced their objections to the film and its depiction of historical facts. Mainstream political parties have either pandered to the violent fringe or stayed steadfastly silent.
In several states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Jharkhand, right-wing fringe groups have been stepping up the rhetoric — and in some cases violence — without any censure from party leaders or administrators.
On Monday, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made it clear that the movie will not be released in his state. “If historical facts are distorted, and if anything is shown or said in the movie against the respect of the country’s mother Padmavatiji, then that movie cannot be allowed to release in the land of Madhya Pradesh,” Chouhan said, eliciting a rousing applause from the audience. “And I am saying this because people of the country and Madhya Pradesh cannot accept disrespect of their pride,” the BJP leader added.
“The insult will not be tolerated,” Chouhan said.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday charged that the controversy over Padmavati was a “calculated plan” of a political party to destroy freedom of expression. She urged film industry members to come out in support of Bhansali and his film. “The Padmavati controversy is not only unfortunate but also a calculated plan of a political party to destroy the freedom to express ourselves,” the chief minister said.
Meanwhile, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday asked his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar to take “stringent action” against those threatening actress Deepika Padukone who is being targeted by fringe groups for her lead role in “Padmavati”.
On the other hand Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also voiced his objection to the distortion of historical facts.
On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, had said the film would not be allowed to release in the state unless its “controversial portions were removed”.
The controversy had also triggered a battle on social media between Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and Union minister Smriti Irani. Last week, Tharoor had reportedly said the “so-called valourous maharajas” had scurried to accommodate themselves when the British “trampled” over their honour and were now after a filmmaker, claiming that prestige was at stake.
On 6 November, Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said appropriate action would be taken if anyone tried to disturb law-and-order in the state during the release of Padmavati, which has courted controversy.
A week later, Karni Sena activists vandalised a theatre in Kota, Rajasthan after reports that it was showing a trailer of Padmavati. The protestors pelted stones and broke windowpanes, gates and the ticket counter and also damage some office furniture. Karni Sena leader Lokendra Singh Kalvi later threatened to cut actress Deepika Padukone’s nose amid a call for “Bharat Bandh”.
Based on an epic poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, the film tells the story of Padmavati, the queen of the Rajpit warrior clan who set herself of fire to avoid being captive by Mughal conqueror Alauddin Khilji, who was infatuated with her beauty.
The movie has not been approved by the censor board.
With inputs from agencies