Padmavati row: Jaipur court to decide on plea to prosecute Bhansali, actors today
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Padmavati row: Jaipur court to decide on plea to prosecute Bhansali, actors today

The petitioner has said there was a “vested interest” in making the film to stoke controversy

india Updated: Nov 23, 2017 09:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Padmavati‬,Padmavati controversy,Karni Sena
Demonstrators burn an effigy depicting film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali during a protest against the release of Bollywood movie Padmavati in Kolkata. Most of the protesters are unlikely to have seen the movie since it hasn’t been released. (Reuters photo)

A Jaipur court is expected to decide on Thursday if the crew of Padmavati should be prosecuted after a petitioner said producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali deliberately chose a controversial topic to stoke trouble.

Bhawani Shankar Sharma, a 42-year-old who identifies himself as a social workers, filed the complaint in the court of the additional district judge-16, making allegations against the filmmakers and the Censor Board for not “acting when the trailer was released”.

Based on a 16th century poem “Padmavat”, the film is an account of a Rajput queen who chose to kill herself rather than be captured by the Muslim sultan of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji. Historians, however, are divided over whether the queen ever existed.

The film has been in trouble since shooting began earlier this year, following violent protests by a Rajasthan-based Rajput group, the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, which has also issued death threats against the lead actors and director. But political temperatures rose last week after multiple BJP-ruled states asked for removal of the “objectionable” parts of the film to avoid offending the sentiments of any community.

A Haryana BJP leader has even announced bounties for people who maim Bhansali or the actors that include Deepika Padukone.

The Jaipur court heard Sharma’s lawyer on Wednesday and deferred the order for a day. Sharma’s lawyer Farid Khan said the judge wanted to know how the film hurt sentiments of the complainant and why another complaint was necessary when there were other complaints and petitions on the film already being heard.

“We told the court that the film does not just concern the Rajput community but is a matter of Indian history. And even if there are other complaints, as a citizen of India my client has a right to file a complaint,” said Khan.

The complainant said the producers were “criminals who made the film with vested interests”. “Padmavati is worshipped by a community and a major fair is organised in Chittorgarh every year in honour of the queen,” read the complaint.

The complainant wanted an investigation into the complaint under 156(3) of CrPC, the order on which is likely to be passed by court today.

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 08:49 IST