The controversy surrounding Padamavat’s and its release does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. While India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has allowed for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus to be released in the country, albeit a few changes and cuts, several states including Gujarat and Rajasthan have banned the film from releasing.
Activists of the Shree Rajput Karni Sena also gathered on Friday outside the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) office in Mumbai on Friday to protest against the release. Security was increased outside the office and a few protestors were taken away by the police but released after a few hours.
Members of the Rajput outfit, under the leadership of its President Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi, gathered outside the CBFC office to express dissent over the censor board’s decision to allow the release of the controversial movie. Some of them were seen holding aloft the movie’s poster with a red mark denoting a cross on it.
Karni Sena’s Maharashtra state Secretary Jeevan Singh Solanki said: “We will not let the film release in the country under any circumstances. Some states have already agreed with us and, therefore, banned it. We want the film to be banned in the whole country.”
“We are going to urge our Prime Minister to ban the film because the movie will ruin the heritage and culture of the Rajput community. The filmmaker has played with the sentiments of the Rajputs,” said Solanki, adding that they will write to the Maharashtra Chief Minister to ban Padmaavat in the state.
While the movie will not be released in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said there is no problem in screening the movie in cinema halls in the state. Despite threats by the Karni Sena to disrupt the film’s release, the Uttar Pradesh government has not issued any orders regarding a ban on its screening.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had earlier said in a statement, “The movie will not be screened in any cinema hall in the state. Rani Padmini’s sacrifice is associated with honour, esteem and pride of the state, so Rani Padmini is not merely a history chapter for us, but is our self-esteem. We will not allow her dignity to be hurt howsoever.”
Asked if they were ready to watch the film pre-release to clear their doubts, Solanki said: “The whole projection of our community is wrong. We do not want to see the film. It should be banned.”
Interestingly, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed his desire to watch the film. His office has requested the Sri Lankan censor board for a special screening of Padmaavat. As per distributor Kalapi Nagada of Cinekorn Entertainment, that is distributing the film in Sri Lanka, they have been informed about this by the censor board.
Seems like the hype and opposition surrounding the film has proven to be beneficial for it. Deepika and Ranveer also have a sizable number of admirers in Sri Lanka. It was also recently rumoured that the couple got engaged there.
The film, cleared by the CBFC after five modifications and rename from Padmavati to Padmavat and now titled Padmaavat. CBFC gave it the green signal with a U/A certification in consultation with a three-member advisory panel. The Rajput outfit had first expressed concern after Ranveer Singh made a casual statement back in July 2016.
He was reportedly asked if he was playing the role of a villain in the film, and he had said that he could go two notches beyond playing the role of a villain if he was given two intimate scenes with the film’s leading lady Deepika Padukone. This led to the question whether the movie showcases any intimacy between Khilji and Rani Padmavati. Subsequently, Karni Sena activists assaulted Bhansali on the film’s set in Jaipur and another set in Kolhapur was vandalised. Death threats were even issued to Deepika and Bhansali.
The film which also starres Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh is expected to hit cinemas on January 25.