Padmavati: From Deepika Padukone’s Ghoomar to Khilji, 8 reasons why protesters are hopping mad

Updated on Nov 15, 2017 06:28 PM IST

From Ghoomar’s picturisation to the name of Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, here is every objection that protesters have raised against Deepika Padukone’s Padmavati.

Deepika Padukone in a still from Padmavati’s Ghoomar.
Deepika Padukone in a still from Padmavati’s Ghoomar.
Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

Sanjay Leela Bhansali and controversy are hardly strangers but the amount of flak Deepika Padukone-starrer Padmavati is facing is indeed shocking. From fringe political groups to national parties to royals, various groups have raised the demand for film’s ban. Despite Bhansali clarifying that the film respects its titular character and portrayal of Rajputs, protests are raging in over eight states at the moment.

It all began in Jaipur when Sanjay Leela Bhansali started shooting for his period drama. Members of Karni Sena, a fringe political group, attacked the sets and seven slapped Bhansali alleging that the film had romantic scenes between Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, who play Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji respectively.

While the protests died down after Bhansali reached out to these groups, they revived once the film’s promotions started. What began with a rangoli depicting Deepika as Padmavati being destroyed in Surat has now spread across the country. While the film has not even been certified as yet, everyone has an opinion on the film and are calling for a ban. The reasons range from the picturisation of film’s song, Ghoomar, to alleging that the film is distorting history.

Padmavati has an important place in Indian literature but there is little proof of the legendary queen’s existence.The film is based on Padmavat, a poem written in the 15th century by Malik Muhammad Jayasi.

Here’s a look at the various objections that people have raised against the film that is set to hit theatres on December 1.

1. Alleged romance between Deepika Padukone’s Padmavati and Ranveer Singh’s Khilji
Karni Sena stopped the shoot of Padmavati in January alleging the film showed a romantic relationship between Padmavati and Khilji. “We have learnt that the filmmakers are portraying the film as a love story between Alauddin Khilji and Padmini, which is a blatant distortion of history. That is why we stopped the shooting and told the makers that we won’t let them continue unless they make changes,” Narayan Divrala, district president, Karni Sena had said then.

Padmavati director Bhansali categorically said, once in January and then again in November, that there is no dream sequence showing romantic scenes between Padmavati and Khilji in his film. “We clarify that there is no dream sequence or any objectionable scene between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji. We have been carefully researching and making the film. In spite of this, the attack on the shoot and crew was uncalled for and was extremely damaging to the image of the beautiful city of Jaipur. We are grateful to the authorities at Jaipur who responded promptly and limited the damage on shoot,” the statement issued in January said.

This is the video that Bhansali Productions issued last week...

2. Distortion of history in the film
From the BJP leaders to Rajasthan royals, a lot of claims have emerged about Padmavati distorting history. Rajasthan film distributor Raj Bansal said, “Karni Sena and other Rajput community leaders are protesting against the film over alleged distortion of historical facts. We are also against the distortion of historical facts and will purchase the distribution rights only after the controversy is settled.”

BJP MLA and a member of the erstwhile Jaipur royal family Diya Kumari said, “I will not allow any distortion of the valiant history of Rajasthan and sacrifice of its people in fighting barbarians by movie Padmavati.” However, historians say there is no record of Padmavati being the cause of Chittor siege.

Historian Irrfan Habib has said that after 250 years of the Chittor incident, Malik Mohammad Jayasi for the first time mentioned Padmavati in his creation ‘Padmavat’. “But Jayasi has mentioned that the princess of Singhaldeep (presently Sri Lanka) Padmavati was married to Raja Ratan Singh of Mewar. Padmavat is a long poetry collection and is an integral part of our literature. Official historian of Mewar darbar Shayamal Das has described Padmavati but in some other context.”

3. Ghoomar song portrays Padmavati as ‘painted doll’
Maharajkumar Vishvaraj Singh, son of Mahendra Singh Mewar -- the 76th Maharana of the Mewar dynast, had told an English daily, “The song Ghoomar and publicity material that has released establishes gross inaccuracies that transgress the limits of dramatic licence. If the film professes to be history and its maker goes on record to claim that he has kept in mind cultural sensitivities, it is an artistic and historic fraud to portray an incorrectly attired courtesan-like painted doll in the song as the very ‘queen’ the film purports to pay obeisance to.”

Interestingly, Deepika learned Ghoomar, the Rajasthani dance form, under the tutelage of renowned expert Jyothi D Tommaar. Jyoti is also the assistant director and trustee of Gangaur Ghoomar Dance Academy. The academy was founded by Late Padmashree HH Rajmata Geverdan Kumariji of Santrampur (former Princess of Kishangarh, Rajasthan).

4. The dancing queen
Rajput Sabha president Giriraj Singh Lotawara told Hindustan Times, “The Ghoomar (traditional folk dance of Rajasthan) is not performed in the way it has been shown in the film and the queens never take part in the dance. We want an expert committee comprising historians and other intellectuals to clear the film first.” The film’s team has reiterated that once CBFC clears the film, they don’t mind showing it to anyone.

5. ‘Indecent’ clothes in Ghoomar song
The queen is shown performing the Ghoomar dance in ‘indecent’ clothes because Deepika is showing her midriff. “A Rajput queen would never perform before an audience nor bare her midriff,” member of Rajput women group Kshatrani Sankalp Poonam Khangarot had said.

6. Padmavati, an ‘attack on Hindutva’
VHP leader Acharya Dharmendra said, “The film Padmavati is anti-Hindu and anti-national. It is an attack on Hindu pride. The filmmakers should be punished.” Bhansali has said in is statement that Rajput and Hindu communities will be proud of his film. CBFC is yet to watch it. The Supreme Court turned down a plea challenging the release of the film as it distorts history. It said that since Padmavati hasn’t been cleared by the censor board yet, the court could not take it up.

7. Film propagates the tradition of sati
A plea filed in the Allahabad high court claimed Padmavati propagates the practice of sati and sought a ban on the film. HC rejected the plea saying that the Central Board of Film Certification will take a call on the movie.

8. Glamourising Alauddin Khilji
In letters to Union minister Smriti Irani and Padmavati director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Haryana minister Vipul Goel said, “There is anger among the people of Haryana, like many other states, regarding the film glorifying the negative character of Alauddin Khilji rather than our own rich history.” The exact portrayal of Khilji will be revealed only after the film releases as nobody has seen the film yet, including CBFC.

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