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Padmavati: Film’s posters torn in Jharkhand, demand for ban intensifies

Meanwhile, theatre owners have decided to seek police protection from the government if the protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh intensifies further.

bollywood Updated: Nov 13, 2017 12:12 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Padmavati,Padmavati row,Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone plays the titular role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati.

After Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, the protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati have now started in Jharkhand as well. Members of the Rajput community and many political groups on Sunday demanded that the Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor-starrer should be banned and vandalised posters and banners of the film in the state capital, Ranchi.

Various right-wing organisations, including Hindu Jagran Manch and Hindu Mahasabha, led by Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha (ABKM), held a meeting to decide their strategy against the movie’s release.

After the meeting, they began their protest by tearing and burning the posters and banners of the movie in Ranchi. Over 50 agitators created a ruckus on the city’s roads and threatened theatre owners that they would stage protests if the film is screened.

“The history has been distorted in the movie. Padmavati was shown dancing in the movie that has never happened in a Rajput royal family. We have objections to the name of the movie. It should not have been named Padmavati as we respect her and call her ma (mother),” ABKM state general secretary’s Nandkishor Singh Chandel said.

Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji in Padmavati.

“We hope the movie will not be displayed in multiplexes or single screen theatres. If it happens, we will have no choice but to launch a protest,” he said.

The movie has been facing trouble since January this year. The first attack took place at Jaipur’s Jaigarh fort in January when scores of Karni Sena members barged on to the sets and assaulted the movie crew, including Bhansali. Later, a set of the film in Kolhapur was vandalised and set on fire.

Protestors alleged the film depicts an “amorous relationship” between Padukone’s Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji - played by Ranveer Singh. Bhansali and his team have, however, dismissed the claims.

Members of Akhil Bhartiya Chatriya Mahasabha and other Hindu groups tear the hoarding of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati during their protest at Ratu road in Ranchi on November 12, 2017. (Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo)

In February this year, representatives of Bhansali Productions Private Limited met members of Shree Rajput Sabha and clarified all misunderstandings. In a statement, Bhansali Productions said, “Representatives of Bhansali Productions Private Limited, including Ms Shobha Sant (CEO) and Mr Chetan Deolekar (Associate Producer) met with the office bearers of all the social organisations under the Shree Rajput Sabha in Jaipur.”

While the protests quietened then, Padmavati’s promotion cycle revived them. With several political groups clamouring for a ban, Bhansali issued a video message to calm tempers on November 8 and reiterated that there were no intimate scenes between the two.

“The rumours claim that the film has a dream sequence between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji -- something that I have already denied, even in written. Now through this video, I am reiterating that in our film, Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji have no such scene together which hurts anyone’s sentiments,” he added.

Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor as Padmavati and Maharawal Ratan Singh.

Historians say Padmavati was a fictional character in Padmawat, an epic poem written by Malik Mohammad Jaisi in the 16th century, and it has no connection with history at all.

Jharkhand Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (JCEA) secretary Prashant Singh said they would seek police protection if the agitation against the film intensified.

“It will be released on December 1. The agitation may settle down by then,” he said.

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First Published: Nov 13, 2017 11:54 IST