The controversial film Jodhaa Akbar directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar was released worldwide today but failed to hit the theatres in the land of Princess Jodhaa--Rajasthan-- following protests by Rajput groups.
The groups under an umbrella organistion Rajput Karni Sena have taken to the streets for the past week in protest against what they called "distortion of historical facts" in the movie based on Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The film, which portrays the epic romance between Akbar and fiery Rajput Princess Jodhaa, was due to have been released in 30 cinema halls across the desert state including nine in the Pink City. The film, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, had its premiere in Mumbai last night.
The film's director, producer and distributors had telephonic conversations with Karni Sena representatives lasting in all for four hours in spells yesterday to find a way out.
But patron Lokendra Kalvi told a news conference in Jaipur today that the screening will not be allowed till Gowarikar tenders a public apology to Rajputs and revises the script removing the "distorted historical fact" regarding Jodhaabai.
Kalvi suggested that the film makers can hold a preview for a selected group of historians in Jaipur on Sunday. "If the historians permit I will withdraw my agitation for ever," he said.
According to Rajput groups, Jodhaa was the daughter of Udai Singh of Marwar and was married to Salim, Akbar's son. But the film shows Jodhaa as Akbar's wife and Gowarikar claims he has the backing of historians and a royal family of Rajasthan to prove it.
Siddharth Roy Kapoor of the UTV Motion pictures said a tremendous amount of research has gone into the movie and "every precaution" has been taken.
Kapoor regretted there were certain elements that tried to create problems and this would force the film-makers to stay away from certain topics.
Kalvi said though Kapoor had last night sent a fax to Karni Sena with a regret note for any alleged discrepancy or distortion of the historical facts they will have to keep the prestige of Rajputs in mind and will not allow anyone to change the course of history.
Kalvi said tt is the cinema hall owners who are refusing to lift the movie prints or have a direct satellite telecast following the week-long protests in parts of the state. He said the film makers had also tried to appease some sections of distributors and cinema hall owners.
Activists of the Karni Sena had written letters in blood against the film's release and submitted it to theatre owners.
Kalvi had said they would not stop the film but the Vasundhara Raje government would be held "responsible" if any untoward incidents occurred.
The Home Department has not slapped any ban on the film but directed that law and order be maintained around all theatres of the state.
The Rajasthan High Court had on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking restraining orders against leaders of Rajput Sabha and Karni Sena but asked the government to ensure law and order.