Padmaavat and the long trail of controversies: A timeline of obstacles the film has faced

Updated on Jan 24, 2018 11:49 AM IST

Padmaavat, which was earlier named Padmavati, has been a bone of contention between Rajput groups and the filmmakers. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ran into trouble right from the beginning when he started shooting in Jaipur.

Padmaavat will release on January 25.
Padmaavat will release on January 25.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

After staying the ban on release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, imposed by four states, the Supreme Court dismissed pleas from state government requesting reversal of its order and cleared all decks for a pan-India release of the Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh-starrer on January 25 on Monday.

However, there seems to be no end to the troubles en route to the release. Despite the top court’s orders, various incidents of violent protests have been reported in Gujarat, Gurgaon and Rajasthan. Several factions of the fringe group Karni Sena have also threatened “curfew” if theatres screen Padmaaavat. As a result, most theatre owners in Gujarat have decided not to screen the film.

Here’s the entire timeline of the controversies:

December, 2016: Sanjay Leela Bhansali started preparing for his biggest film till date. However, he had to stop shooting for a few days because a worker died on the sets of the film after falling from a stand. Deepika Padukone offered condolences on Twitter.

January, 2017: Bhansali was slapped and assaulted by the members of Karni Sena who staged an angry protest at Jaigarh fort in Jaipur where Bhansali was shooting for Padmavati. In a viral video, protesters were seen running amok, damaging cameras and other shooting equipment while raising slogans and spewing abuses in Hindi.

March, 2017: After facing roadblock in Rajasthan, Bhansali shifted his sets to Kolhapur in Maharashtra. Little did he know that men armed with petrol bombs and swords will attack his film’s sets. However, they did and vandalised the sets. After this incident, Bhansali reached a truce with the protesting organisations. In a letter that surfaced on Twitter, the filmmaker has clarified to the Rajput associations that there is no “romantic dream sequence or anything objectionable” between Rani Padmavati and Allauddin Khilji in the movie

April-August, 2017: Many Bollywood celebrities came out in support of the film and freedom of expression. The film started a debate on the social media.

September, 2017: Two posters of the upcoming film were released and both show Deepika wearing a red royal dress and heavy Rajasthani jewelry. This also marked the beginning of another round of protests by the Karni Sena.

October, 2017: Karan, a Surat-based artist, made a ‘rangoli’ featuring Deepika Padukone, but some miscreants entered the venue and destroyed his work that took him more than 48 hours in making. Later, Deepika Padukone condemned the attacks.

First week of November: Rajput Karni Sena intensified its protest on the pretext of Padmavati distorting historical facts. Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh became the centre of the protest. Schools and colleges remained closed.

Second week of November: Karni Sena started demanding ban on the film on the grounds that the film distorts history and presents Rajputs in a poor light.

November 10: The Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking ban on the release of Padmavati. The court trusted Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to consider all aspects before granting a certificate to it.

November 11: Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria constituted a panel to watch the film before granting release in the state.

November 11: Haryana health minister Anil Vij said that the state government will approach the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to seek a ban on Padmavati. The minister said he would not allow the screening of the movie in the state.

November 15: The Shri Rajput Karni Sena called on for a ‘bandh’ on December 1. This was the date when Padmavati was supposed to release. The Maharashtra government provided security cover to Sanjay Leela Bhansali in view of the growing threats.

November 16, 2017: Speaking to ANI, Karni Sena member Mahipal Singh Makrana said, “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.”

November 12-25: Protests against Padmavati started in many states including Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP, Bihar and Karnataka.

November 19, 2017: The makers delayed the release of their film after CBFC returned the application for certification citing a technicality. They didn’t announce the next release date.

December 22, 2017: The censor board asked the erstwhile Mewar royal family to join a panel to help it certify Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama Padmavati that stoked Rajput anger for allegedly portraying the queen in “poor light”.

December 28, 2017: The Censor Board sought the opinion of two veteran historians from Jaipur on film Padmavati by inviting them to view the film. These historians include Professor B.L. Gupta and Prof R.S. Khangarot.

The committee suggested five modifications. However, it suggested the makers to change the title of Padmavat.

January 14, 2018: The makers declared that Padmavati would release on January 25. The same day when Akshay Kumar’s PadMan would release.

January 15, 2018: The makers issued full page ads declaring that the film doesn’t have any objectionable scenes. The film was still banned by Rajasthan, Gujarat and MP. Meanwhile, the film’s name was changed to first Padmavat and then Padmaavat.

January 16, 2018: The producers of Padmaavat moved the Supreme Court against the film being banned in four states after receiving a clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana governments had banned the movie saying its release may pose law and order problems.

January 18, 2018: The Supreme Court stayed a ban on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat imposed by four states, ensuring an all India release of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film on January 25. It all restrained other states from issuing such a notification.

January 22, 2018: The Supreme Court dismissed pleas filed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments seeking a reversal on its earlier stay on ban on the film’s release.

January 24, 2018: Even as the producers pin hopes on high advance booking for the paid previews scheduled for Wednesday evening, various incidents of vandalism were reported from Ahmedabad and Rajasthan. At least 16 people were arrested in Ahmedabad after a mob went on a rampage outside Himalaya Mall in the city to protest against the release of Padmaavat.

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