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Padmavati row: Javed Akhtar implies Rajputs were pawns of British, faces threats

While defending director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial historical epic Padmavati on Monday, lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar made incendiary remarks against the Rajputs.

bollywood Updated: Nov 21, 2017 11:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Padmavati,Padmavati row,Karni Sena
Writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar addresses during Sahitya Aaj Tak Literature festival in New Delhi.(IANS)

While defending director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial historical epic Padmavati on Monday, lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar made incendiary remarks against the Rajputs, who have been protesting the film’s release over its depiction of Queen Padmavati.

Speaking to Aaj Tak, Akhtar said, “The Rajputs and the Rajwadas never fought against the British and now they are taking to the streets against a film and a filmmaker. All these ‘ranas’ ‘rajas’ and ‘maharajas’ of Rajasthan were serving in the courts of the British for 200 years. Where did their Rajput honour and valour go that time? They have become what they are since they had accepted to serve the British.”

Akhtar’s statements were condemned by the Karni Sena, the same outfit that organised an attack on Bhansali earlier this year, and has been inciting violence in the weeks leading up to the film’s December 1 release (which has now been deferred).

Read LIVE updates about the Padmavati row here

Mahipal Singh Makrana, state president, Shri Rajput Karni Sena, said, “He (Akhtar) has lost our respect. From now on he is banned in Rajasthan and if he dares we will thrash him on the streets.” He was addressing reporters while burning Akhtar in effigy.

Akhil Bharatiya Maratha Mahasangh and Akhil Bharatiys Kshatriyahasangh members protest against Sanjay Leela Bansali's upcoming film Padmavati at Azad Maidan , in Mumbai. (PTI)

“Rajputs and Rajwadas have sacrificed their lives and he is mocking our history and saying we were serving the British,” he said.

“He does not deserve ‘Padharo Mhare Des’ treatment anymore. He speaks a lot in literature festivals and next time we are not going to allow him to even come to Jaipur and speak,” he said.

On Thursday, Mahipal Singh Makrana, a leader of the Shri Rajput Karni, openly threatened to chop off Deepika Padukone’s nose. While talking about the film, Makrana said Padukone was provoking them, and reminded her of the incident in the Ramayana, where Laxman, Lord Rama’s brother cuts off the nose of Raavan’s sister Shurpanakha .

Members of India's Rajput community shout slogans as they protest against the release of Bollywood film Padmavati in Mumbai. (AP)

“Rajput Karni Sena is fighting to protect the image of women being portrayed in the films. We never raise a hand on women but if need be, we will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha for violating the rules and culture of India,” Makrana said.

Responding to these threats, Javed Akhtar and actor Shabana Azmi had called for an industry-wide boycott.

Akhtar said to journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, “the people who say they will eradicate terrorism, can’t ensure that a film is released.”

“For discussion’s sake, even if one was to accept that somebody’s feelings have been hurt, that she was indeed a historical figure, and so on, what are we doing about it? Are you going to cut somebody’s nose or chop off somebody’s head? Is that how a civilised country will work?” asked the national award-winning writer.

Padmavati: states of protest
  • 01 Punjab’s Amarinder Singh becomes first Congress chief minister to support protests against movie
  • 02 Haryana wants movie banned, a party leader offers Rs 10 crore bounty for anyone beheading Padukone or Bhansali
  • 03 Rajasthan wants "objectionable" parts of movie removed. Group called Karni Sena threatens actor Deepika Padukone, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • 04 Gujarat BJP tells Election Commission movie should be released after state elections
  • 05 Maharashtra govt assures security to Padmavati’s actors, director and theatres; Shiv Sena wants Bhansali to heed protesters’ demands
  • 06 Karnataka govt assures security to movie, asks Haryana to take action against people threatening Padukone
  • 07 Telangana BJP leader T Raja Singh threatens to torch theatres if they screen the movie
  • 08 West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee supports movie, calls controversy ‘super emergency’
  • 09 MP bans movie. CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan says he won’t allow "distortion of history"
  • 10 UP too wants movie delayed. A Thakur leader offers Rs 5 crore as bounty for beheading Bhansali or Padukone

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First Published: Nov 21, 2017 08:42 IST