The Ranveer Singh starrer has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for a while. It first came to attention, when the members of a fringe group called ‘Karni Sena’ attacked the sets and even physically assaulted the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. There were rumors that the film showed intimate scenes between Rani Padmavati and Sultan Alauddin Khalji. These reports were later denied by Bhansali.
In December last year, there were some issues related to releasing of the film with the Karni Sena demanding a special screening to assess the accuracy of the historical facts. In response to this, the COO of Viacom18 said that they wouldn’t mind organizing a pre-screening of the film once it gets the clearance from the censor board. Meanwhile, there were death threats being issued to Bhansali and everyone starring in the film. A leader of Karni Sena threatened to chop off Deepika Padukone’s nose if the movie was allowed to release.
To make matters worse for Bhansali, two Chief Ministers, of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan respectively, both ruled by BJP, said that they would not let the film release in their respective states fearing security issues.
The honourable Supreme Court ruled that no state can ban a movie once cleared by the CBFC earlier this week, would come as a relief for the producers.
Earlier today, Rajput women wrote a letter to the PM saying that they should be allowed to commit mass suicide (called Jauhar) if the release of the controversial movie is not stalled.
With no support from the government, several theatres in Rajasthan and MP are reluctant to release the movie. A theatre owner said that when he tried to contact police officials for extra security for the theatres after the release of the film, police responded by saying that they would be releasing the movie on their own risk, reported Reuters.
In a country like India where several cultures and ideologies attempt to strive together, the Padmaavat controversy has once again put a huge question mark on the freedom of expression. The fact that the producers had to agree to the demands of Karni Sena explains a lot about the law and order situation currently in India. With the lack of support from state governments, the Bhansali magnum opus may cause mass-scale protests in Rajput inhabited states. The writer begs the state governments to give the theatres adequate protection, otherwise many theatres may refuse to release the film which will leave a skid mark on the sovereignty of art and cinema in India.