There has been never another historic/biopic movie probably in the Indian history that ran into troubled waters as much as the film Padmaavat, also earlier titled as Padmavati, one of the most expensive Indian films ever made with an estimated whopping production value of 190 crores. The upcoming Indian period epic film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been a controversial lot ever since its filming began in Rajasthan’s capital which irked Rajput groups engaging in a bone of contention with the movie makers. Although the Supreme Court of India revoked the ban for its all-India release on January 25, and also stayed notifications and orders issued by the governments of Rajasthan and Gujarat forbidding exhibition of the film in their states, the film, however, has still got the potential to add more trouble to its already existing string of nation-wide disputes and protests lead by the Karni Sena Rajput group.
Padmavati – a cinematic attempt at contempt!
The film, Padmaavat, is finally slated for a January 25 release worldwide which earlier was supposed to release as Padmavati on 1st of December. The movie has been mired in one unrest after another and the erstwhile royals of Jaipur are inviting for a complete ban on the movie, asserting that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film shows the goddess queen Rani Padmini in a poor light. The film’s controversies took to heights of offensiveness when the protagonist of the movie was threatened physical attack by the fringe Rajasthan group of Karni Sena. The Karni Sena holds weight on the Rajput vote-bank and of some other communities through it. Most political parties are seen to be reluctant to oppose these groups while some BJP led state governments went a step ahead, ordering for a ban on the movie even before the censor board had watched the movie. Here in hindsight about some of the major incidents hinting at how the film has spelled some of the biggest troubles for the makers and the government administrations alike.
- The movie starring Deepika Padukone in the central role was besieged by agitation as the film sets have been vandalized twice by the Karni Sena group in Rajasthan’s Jaipur and Maharashtra’s Kolhapur last year however not without a warning to attack the movie sets. They have also slapped and assaulted Mr. Bhansali while shooting in Jaipur in January 2017.
- Prior to movie’s first release date, the Rajput groups have threatened that they will gather in lakhs for a Bharat bandh on December 1. In this situation, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urged the Centre to take a call for restoring peace.
- The Ghoomar song picturized in the movie was objected by the former Royal family of Chattisgarh who said, “History has beheld that none of the Rajput maharanis has ever danced in front of anyone, and they cannot fiddle with history”. Rajasthan Education Minister Kiran Maheshwari also joined the chorus voicing a similar concern alleging it’s been made purely for money and entertainment discrediting the immortal valor of Rani Padmavati.
- Workers of the Rajput Karni Sena vandalized shops in the Aakash Mall, where the targeted theatre was located in Rajasthan’s Kota for screening the trailer of Padmaavat.
- Haryana minister Vipul Goel looked for changes in the film and added that “glamorizing Alauddin Khilji’s character was like glorifying those who carry out acid attacks on girls”.
- Divya Kumari from Jaipur’s regal family has remarked “Instead of highlighting Padmini’s behemothic sacrifice, the film-maker has sought to highlight the romantic angle in this film and the women of Rajasthan were very upset with this”.
- Two posters of the movie showing Deepika in heavy Rajasthani jewelry and red royal attire has led to another round of protests by the Karni Sena.
(Image source: Twitter)
The celluloid storyteller of Padmaavat, Sanjay Leela Bhansali though has repeatedly denied the allegations and even released a video clarifying that his film does not distort history in any sense as they were carefully researching the history of the Queen and about the Rajput’s Jauhar sacrifice and that there is no “romantic dream sequence or anything objectionable” between Rani Padmavati and Allauddin Khilji while canning the movie. Numerous Bollywood celebrities came out backing the film and freedom of expression. The film also fired a debate on the social media for being protested like no other film.
(A depiction of The Rajput ceremony of Jauhar during the year 1567- Source: Wikipedia)