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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Padmavati row: Ranveer Singh asked not to talk about film, CM Yogi says Bhansali as guilty as protestors

Deepika Padukone’s Padmavati has found support in Union Minister Birender Singh who asked protestors to watch the film before forming opinions about it. Maharashtra government, however, is contemplating a ban on the film.

bollywood Updated: Nov 22, 2017 10:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Deepika Padukone plays Rani Padmavati in the controversial film.
Deepika Padukone plays Rani Padmavati in the controversial film.

With just days to go before its release, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical epic Padmavati has been withdrawn from the calendar. Makers Viacom 18 postponed the December 1 release after a series of violent threats by fringe groups. Bhansali and star Deepika Padukone, who plays the titular role, were threatened with violence. With Madhya Pradesh banning the film and Punjab CM Amarinder Singh joining the chorus, we bring you the latest updates on the controversy:

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

9:17pm IST: Fukrey 2 was on Tuesday preponed to its original date of December 8 after Padmavati was removed from its December 1 release date. “It was always meant to be December 8. Even our teaser said 8th. But we moved up as Padmavati was shifted to December 1 and we needed a 2-week gap. Now that there is no movie on December 1 we are going back to our original plan,” Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment said.

8.23pm IST: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said that he neither supported a ban on the Padmavati nor backed those issuing threats to its actors and crew. Singh decried attempts by what he claimed were “vested interests” to misinterpret his statement on the issue. “How can I seek or support a ban on the movie when I have not even watched it,” asked Singh, refuting the “unfounded conclusions” that were drawn from his statement on Monday.

8:00pm IST: Local BJP MLA T Raja Singh Lodh has asked Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to follow his counterparts in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and not allow the screening of Padmavati in the state

5:50pm IST: Ranveer Singh tells ANI that he supports the film. “I am 200% with the film and my Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, I have been asked not to say anything, whatever official stand it is you will get it from producers.It’s a very sensitive issue.”

5:10 pm IST: Union Minister Birender Singh said that those opposing the film should see the it first and then demand cuts if anything is found to be objectionable. “My opinion is very clear. Some of the historic facts may not be in consonance with our thinking....those who are opposing, first they should see the movie. If they find something which hurts them, (they can ask producers to) remove those (parts),” Singh told PTI.

5: 00pm IST: “CBFC kisi kaam ke liye bani hui hai. Usse apna kaam karne dijiye (CBFC has been tasked with certain works. Let it do its job,” Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told reporters in New Delhi.

2:50 pm IST: “There is objection over story of a film. Famous film Mughal-e-Azam showed Anarkali as Saleem’s mehbooba, when in reality there is no such thing but no Muslim objected because it is a story & Muslims are large-hearted they know a film can’t ruin their history,” said Samajwadi Party leader, Azam Khan, according to ANI.

2:31 pm IST: TV reports suggest Maharashtra is mulling a ban on Padmavati. UP and MP have ‘banned’ the film so far.

2:00 pm IST: The atmosphere of “intolerance” and “barbaric” statements on “beheading” of filmmakers and actors has upset Rohit Roy, who says he is frustrated about being an Indian living in India.

“For the first time, I’m sad, frustrated, enraged that I’m an Indian living in India... Never thought I’d ever say that. Indeed, very sad. Jai Hind,” Rohit tweeted.

12:40 pm IST: Within 48 hours after protest over the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film reached Kolkata with members of Bharat Kshatriya Samaj vowing to prevent the release of the film in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress made it clear that they will not allow any muscle flexing in the name of protest.

The tone was set by chief minister Mamata Banerjee herself, who tweeted her displeasure over the controversy around Padmavati. “The #Padmavati controversy is not only unfortunate but also a calculated plan of a political party to destroy the freedom to express ourselves. We condemn this super emergency. All in the film industry must come together and protest in one voice,” she wrote on Monday.

12 pm IST: On Tuesday, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath slammed Bhansali in an interview to CNN-IBN, saying ‘he invited trouble’ by making the film. He said that the ban on the Padmavati would continue in the state, and that the filmmakers should respect the sentiments of the 22 crore citizens of UP.

“Nobody has the right to take law into their own hands, be it Sanjay Leela Bhansali or anybody is. And I feel that if those giving death threats are guilty, then Bhansali is also guilty of hurting people’s sentiments,” he said.

11:45 am IST:Police have been stationed outside Deepika Padukone’s parent’s house in Bengaluru. “I have asked the Haryana Chief Minister to take strict action against those threatening to harm Deepika, as she only played the lead role in the film as an actress as directed by its maker,” Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said on Monday.

“I condemn the culture of intolerance and hate perpetuated by the BJP and its right-wing groups. Karnataka stands by Deepika who is a renowned artist from our state.”

11:40 am IST: Actor Kamal Haasan tweeted in solidarity with Deepika Padukone. “Extremism in any debate is deplorable. Wake up cerebral India.Time to think. We’ve said enough. Listen Ma Bharat,” he wrote.

10:35 am IST: According to ANI, a man from Gurugram has filed an FIR against BJP leader Suraj Pal Amu for his comments against Deepika Padukone & Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The leader previously encouraged violence against the filmmaker and star.

10:15 am IST: In an appearance at the ongoing International Film Festival of India in Goa, actor Shah Rukh Khan, in what seemed like an oblique reference to the ongoing protests and the exclusion of two films from the festival, said, “.... Familial experience binds us all together, makes relationships stronger even in the face of dissent and discussion as it happens in a family, instead of tearing us apart.”

I&B minister Smriti Irani and Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the festival along with Shah Rukh Khan.

9:45 am IST: At the IFFI red carpet on Monday, several Bollywood personalities such as Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (director of Bareilly Ki Barfi), producer Boney Kapoor and composer AR Rahman refused to address the issue. However, filmmakers Kabir Khan, Milan Luthria, Shoojit Sircar and Meghna Gulzar expressed solidarity with Bhansali.

8:35 am IST: CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi on Monday said the censor board is trying to come up with a “balanced decision” about Padmavati but it should be given adequate space and time to do that. “We need to understand that the CBFC must take a balanced decision. This situation was not created by the CBFC. It had nothing to do with the protests on the roads. You show the film to media houses and get reviews done but you want CBFC to deliver a fair and well-thought out decision?” Joshi said

8:30 am IST: While defending the film 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. “The Rajputs and the Rajwadas never fought against the British and now they are taking to the streets against a film and a filmmaker,” he said.

The threats

Several fringe groups have been threatening violence against the film, ever since its production began earlier this year. A Meerut youth offered a Rs 5 crore bounty on director Bhansali and star Deepika Padukone’s heads.

The film starring Deepika, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji, is based on the legend of Rani Padmavati, a Hindu Rajput queen.

Padmavati has an important place in Indian literature but there is little proof of the legendary queen’s existence. The filmmakers have said Padmavati is a work of fiction but that did not stop the protests. The troubles began when members of the Rajput Karni Sena attacked the filmmaker on the sets of the film, alleging that he was misrepresenting ‘facts’ about the queen - especially her ‘relationship’ with tyrant Alaudin Khilji.

Protesters allege that the historical facts in the movie had been wrongly presented to “defame” the image of Padmavati and that it had hurt the sentiments of lakhs of people.

Padmavati has been facing a lot of trouble since early this year. Bhansali was assaulted by activists of a Rajput community group, Karni Sena, while shooting in Jaipur.

BJP leader Suraj Pal Amu took the threats a step further on Sunday. “If you do not take back your words, we will break your legs,” he said in Hindi, addressing the film’s star, Ranveer Singh.

“I want to congratulate the Meerut youth for announcing Rs 5 crore bounty for beheading Deepika, and Bhansali. We will reward the ones beheading them with Rs 10 crore, and also take care of their family’s needs,” he said.

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

Bollywood reaction

Several Bollywood personalities objected to the decision, some even calling for a boycott on the release of all films. Padmavati star Shahid Kapoor said that he is ‘optimistic and proud of the film’ and that ‘any kind of violence and coercion is uncalled for.’

On Monday, actor Shabana Azmi and lyricist Javed Akhtar called members of Bollywood to refuse to be “puppets in this game of electoral gain, divisive politics and polarisation” as the row over Padmavati turned uglier and blamed the BJP governments at the Centre and some states of not doing enough to handle the protests against the film.

Akhtar said, “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.

Javed Akhtar’s remarks that the Rajputs were pawn of the British earned him threats of his own.

One of the film’s stars, Shahid Kapoor, broke his silence at the ongoing India International Film Festival in Goa. “Sometimes films of this nature.... it gets a bit complicated. I will choose to be optimistic till the due course is done. This is not the time to be angry, not the time to lose your cool. There are enough people doing that. So I would choose to say that I believe in the process,” Shahid told reporters at the IFFI red carpet.

There have been other voices too. Veteran actor Prakash Raj tweeted, “Will they let #Padmavati release post election at least ..#justasking”

One announced five crores... now a party spokes person announced ten crores reward for those who behead an actor and a director !!There seems to be loads of moeny to gift post demonitization... but does that includes GST... #justasking”

Twinkle Khanna tweeted on, “And as far as #Padmavati is concerned I wish it is the biggest hit ever as that would be the befitting rejoinder to all these loony threats!”

Riteish Deshmukh tweeted: “What kind of a country are we becoming???? Open death threats!!! Hope our Honorable Government takes quick action. #Padmavati #KyaMeraBharatMahaanHai?”

CBFC’s stand

The CBFC had sent the film back to the producers as the application for the certification was “incomplete”. CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi said he deplored the use of “convenient, casual methods” and said there should be “a responsible, mutually respectful and balanced approach”.

Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, which has produced the film, told PTI that the issue with the application was “minor” and the CBFC could have screened the film. “That’s true. But film is with the CBFC, it is merely a minor technical issue. Nothing stops them from seeing the film if they want,” he said.

Joshi has also criticised director Sanjay Leela Bhansali for screening the film for a select group that included TV anchor Arnab Goswami without a certificate. “It is disappointing that the film Padmavati is being screened for the media and getting reviewed on national channels without the CBFC having seen or certified the film. This compromises the role of systems and balances that are part of a functioning industry,” said Joshi.

The Board refused to expedite the film’s certification process.

Politicians’ stand

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has told delegations of the Rajput community, which is protesting the film’s depiction of Rani Padmini, or Padmavati, that his government won’t tolerate any “wrong portrayal of a character worshipped by the nation”.

Rajasthan will not allow the movie to be screened in the state without “necessary changes” suggested by chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

She wrote on Saturday to Union information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani for the changes to respect the sentiments of Rajputs.

The Uttar Pradesh government has also called for cuts to remove objectionable sections from the movie, which was due to open on December 1 but its producers postponed the release amid violent protests and death threats.

As the protests mounted, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali after a Rajput delegation sought his intervention. The party said the filmmaker should edit out offending portions.

The protesters found a supporter in Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, who became the first Congress leader to speak out against the film.

“Nobody will accept the distortion of history and those who are protesting are rightly doing so,” ANI quoted the Congress leader as saying.

What happened

Trouble began after the Rajput Karni Sena, a fringe group, demanded a ban on the film because it “distorted history”. Bhansali has repeatedly denied this charge while the makers reiterated that the film was a cinematic masterpiece capturing “Rajput valour, dignity and tradition in all its glory”.

Supporters of Karni Sena obstruct the shooting of Padmavati at Jaigarh Palace in Jaipur.
Supporters of Karni Sena obstruct the shooting of Padmavati at Jaigarh Palace in Jaipur.

Earlier this year, Bhansali was even roughed up by the Sena members in Jaipur and the film sets vandalised during shooting.

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First Published: Nov 21, 2017 09:23 IST