The Padmavati Crisis

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati’s release has been delayed from the earlier decided release date of 1st December, owing to the mass protests and threats. Makers now want assurance from the government, that there will be no further protests when they declare their new release date.

Padmavati

 

So, what’s the point behind mass protests over the content of a film that no one has seen yet. While this sounds silly and a non-issue, people continue to be agitated over it. What is even more incredible is that historians still aren’t sure if the story of Padmavati is real history or just fiction. In case you don’t know the story, it is about a Rajput queen Padmavati, so beautiful that it became reason for Alauddin Khilji to seige the fort of Chittor in 1303, in an attempt to capture her. Legend has it that, in order to protect herself and all the other Rajput women from the hands of Khijli and his men, Pamavati and 16,000 Rajput women performed Jauhar (self immolation). Hence, Padmavati is considered to be the ideal Rajput woman, who chose honour before survival.

The casting of Deepika Padukone as Padmavati and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji, who are known for their sizzling onscreen chemistry, is where the problem began. Rumours began to make the rounds about a dream sequence where the two are seen romancing each other (since that can’t be shown otherwise). This is what brought the furore of the Rajput Karni Sena. What started as vandalism of sets and attacks on the director has made its way into death threats and threats to ‘chop off’ Deepika Padukone’s nose. They have also asked for a complete ban of the movie in Haryana and have also submitted their memorandum. This protest in Haryana even resulted in lathicharge by the police, such was it’s intensity. Protests have since moved from northern India to the southern regions with protests being held in Coimbatore, Bengaluru, etc.

padmavati bengaluru.jpg

Protest Against The Release Of Padmavati In Bengaluru (source)

All this has been happening even after the makers of the movie have continuously refuted claims of the existence of the dream sequence. Deepika Padukone recently promoted her movie on the reality TV show Bigg Boss, where she once again clarified that she and Ranveer Singh have no scenes together. But, irrespective, protesters are not willing to listen. Hence, now the matter has reached the Supreme Court, which is to hear fresh plea to stall the release of the film outside India.

The issue has now become highly political. While Haryana BJP leader Surajpal Singh Amu has been reported to have said to double the Rs 5 Crore ‘reward’ offerred by a Meerut youth to anyone beheading Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepiika padukone, Union Minister Birender Singh said that those opposing the film should watch it first and then demand cuts if anything is found objectionable. Veteran film-maker Shyam Benegal has been quoted saying, “I am sorry, the protests make no sense, unless we judge them against the current political climate in the country.” This makes a lot of sense since right now instead of discussing far more important topics like the aftermath of demonetization and GST or the upcoming Gujarat Elections, people are caught up with the Padmavati issue.

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