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Padmavati: Gujarat bans Deepika Padukone film, second state after MP

Ahead of polls, Gujarat has banned Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati. The film was banned in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh earlier this week.

Padmavati Row Updated: Nov 22, 2017 23:28 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Hiral Dave
Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Ahmedabad
Padmavati,Padmavati ban,Padmavati Gujarat
A boy looks at a poster of Bollywood film Padmavati featuring Deepika Padukone in Mumbai. The film has banned in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.(AP)

Gujarat joined Madhya Pradesh in banning controversial Bollywood film Padmavati on Wednesday as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) backed protesters and said it will tell filmmakers to not hurt Hindu sentiments.

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani told reporters that his government would not allow Padmavati to be released because it hurt the sentiment of the Rajput community.

“There are issues with the film, our sympathy is with those who are protesting against it….” he said. The decision was taken keeping in mind the law and order situation before elections next month in the state, the chief minister added.

The VHP, an affiliate of the RSS, said it will meet filmmakers from January to ensure directors did “thorough research” before making movies so that they didn’t hurt Hindu sentiments or distort the history of India.

“There are sentiments that get hurt, so the film makers must take care not to tamper historical facts,” said Surendra Jain, the international joint general secretary of the VHP. “In trying to underplay the excesses by Muslim invaders, pseudo historians subdued the tales of valour of Hindu kings and queens such as Padmavati.”

Padmavati is battling mounting protests by the Rajput community, which claims a distortion of history in the depiction of legendary queen Padmini, who is said to have killed herself to avoid being captured by Muslim emperor Alauddin Khilji. Outfits such as the Shri Rajput Karni Sena are angry over a rumoured depiction of romance between Padmini, played by Deepika Padukone and Khilji, played by Ranveer Singh.

The film’s crew is facing several death threats, including a Rs 10 bounty for beheading Bhansali and Padukone offered by a Haryana BJP leader. The film’s release was put off last Sunday in the face of the protests.

Madhya Pradesh has already banned the film and states such as Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have asked the Centre to ensure edits to the movie to not offend sentiments of the Rajput community. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said his government would take a call on allowing the screening of the film after a decision of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) – which is yet to see the movie.

In Delhi, Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi, who claims to be a descendant of queen Padmini, appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bar the film from being screened and ensure that Rajput pride was not hurt.

He also said he hadn’t seen the film but based his outfit’s violent protests on an interview by Singh, where he apparently had hinted at a romantic sequence with Padukone in the film. Bhansali has repeatedly denied any such sequence was shot and several historians have doubted whether Padmini ever existed.

“There is no alternative, but to consign the reel of the film to fire. The film disrespects our sentiments,” he said.

But minutes later, he added that his outfit would withdraw the protests if the royal family of Mewar was satisfied with the movie.

A parliamentary panel has sought a report from the information and broadcasting ministry and the censor board. BJP leader CP Joshi, who is also a member of the panel, told PTI the movie should be shown to historians and the descendants of the erstwhile royal families, who trace their lineage to Padmavati, before release.

“The panel has referred the matter to the information and broadcasting ministry and the censor board. It has also asked them to submit a report before November 30,” senior BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who heads the panel, said.

(with agency inputs)

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 16:39 IST