Padmavati: Protests in Gujarat, outside Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Mumbai office

More than 100,000 Rajputs gathered in poll-bound Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar, while thousands took part in the protest march in Surat to demand a ban on Padmavati.

bollywood Updated: Nov 12, 2017 23:26 IST
Ahmedabad/Chandigarh, Mumbai
Padmavati,Sanjay Leela Bhansali,Padmavati protests
Supporters of Rajput Karni Sena shout slogans during a protest rally in Gandhinagar, some 30km from Ahmedabad, on November 12, 2017. Rajput Karni Sena supporters gathered in thousands to protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, Padmavati. (AFP)

Members of Rajput community intensified their protests against Padmavati, holding demonstrations in Gujarat and outside the Mumbai office of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Sunday, demanding a ban on the film for allegedly distorting facts.

The ruling BJP appeared divided on the issue. Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said films should be watched as films and not for history or geography. But a Haryana minister asked for changes and another for a ban.

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

More than 100,000 Rajputs gathered in poll-bound Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar, while thousands took part in the protest march in Surat to demand a ban on Padmavati.

The movie’s release is scheduled for December 1.

According to Mansinh Rathod, who is leading the Gujarat chapter of Karni Sena, a Rajput community group, Bhansali had distorted historical facts.

“We have learnt that there is a dream sequence in the movie wherein Rani Padmavati has been shown romancing Allaudin Khilji. We condemn such a heinous portrayal our queen. Karni Sena will never allow such movie to hit the theatres,” Rathod said.

Senior Karni Sena leaders, including founder Lokendrasinh Kalvi and national president Mahipalsinh Makrana, joined Gandhinagar protest.

Karni warned of violence if the film was released and said the government would be responsible for the law and order situation.

According to Virendrasinh Bhati of the Karni Sena, Bhansali had gone back on his promise to show the movie to the community to get a clearance first.

With the Gujarat assembly poll in December, protesters also warned the ruling BJP of “consequences”.

“If the Centre or state government fails to step in, the BJP may have to face the ire of the community during the Gujarat polls,” Rajput leader from Surat Yashwantsinh Vala said.

Recently, Gujarat BJP sent a letter to the Election Commission opposing the release of the film ahead of the election, saying the movie hurt the sentiments of the community.

A group of around 25 people protested outside Bhansali’s office in suburban Juhu. Police said they detained the protesters, but later released them.

Acid attack analogy

In letters to Union minister Smriti Irani and Bhansali, Haryana minister Vipul Goel sought changes in the film and said “glamourising Alauddin Khilji’s character was akin to praising those who carry out acid attacks on girls”.

“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 Haryana industries and commerce minister said.

Goel told Bhansali that the movie’s trailer showed that Khilji’s “negative” character had been glorified. “I want to ask you, is glorification of Khilji’s character for the sake of public entertainment justified?” he said, adding the film should be released only after making changes and keeping in view the public sentiments.

The letters come a day after Goel’s ministerial colleague Anil Vij said the state government would not allow the film to be screened in Haryana and would ask the censor board to ban it.

But, Union minister Naqvi had a different view. He saw films as films, without getting into the history or geography as depicted in them, Naqvi said in Mumbai.

“What you like in a film, should be accepted and what you do not like, should be left there. I am neither supporting nor opposing the film,” he said.

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 23:01 IST