Protester climbs tower with petrol bottle demanding Padmaavat ban


Despite getting clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Supreme Court knocking down the stay orders on the release of the films, Padmaavat’s woes are far from over. The film which is expected to release this week on January 25 continues to face opposition and pressure from protestors and the right-wing group Shri Rajput Karni Sena.

In a recent turn of events, a young man in Rajasthan climbed a 350-feet tall mobile tower with a bottle of petrol on Monday and has demanded a countrywide ban on the film Padmaavat.

Brandishing the bottle of petrol, the youth said he would climb down only when the Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh-starrer movie is banned across India.

In Rajasthan, protests against the film have intensified ever since the Supreme Court paved way for its countrywide release on January 25. On Sunday, thousands of women brandishing swords took out a ‘Chetavani Rally’ (warning march) in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh town, demanding a ban on the film and threatening to do self-immolation (jauhar) if the authorities fail to stop its release.

“[A total of] 1908 Kshatriya females have registered their names to perform jauhar [Hindu custom of mass self-immolation done by women to evade capture, enslavement and rape by foreign invaders in pre-Independence India] in Chittorgarh on January 24 if the film’s screening is not stopped,” Karni Sena leaders said.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali also recently sent an invitation to Karni Sena and other Rajput associations to watch Padmaavat. He also urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban the film.

However, in a press conference on Saturday, its patron and founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi said, “This letter will be put into flames as it is just a part of show-off which has been done in an endeavour to prove that ‘we have invited Rajput community leaders’.”

They also appealed to the Prime Minister to ban the film under “section 6 of the Cinematography Act”.

The letter addressed to Karni Sena read that the Rajput community has been misled in this context. “The film will maintain the honour and dignity of Queen Padmavati… The dream sequence being talked about in the film is just a rumour and we have already apprised you about the same in the letter sent on January 29, 2017. There is no such scene… We assure that the entire Rajput community will feel proud after watching the film,” says the letter.

Talking about the movie, Kalvi said, “We never asked him to show us the film but we wanted nine historians to be shown the film, out of which the film has been shown to three historians only. On top of it, the advice of these historians was also not considered. We now want that the film should be shown to the six remaining historians as well and their opinion on the same sought.”

He added that the historians have been insulted as their opinions were ignored and the film’s release date was decided.

“Now at this point of time, the only solution is to ban the film completely,” he said.

Cinema owners in the controversial states are also feeling apprehensive in screening the film and several are deciding not to screen the film for fear of vandalism.

Padmaavat is based on the poem Padmavat, written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in the 15th century. The ballad narrates the tale of the beautiful Rani Padmini of Chittor (played by Deepika) and Turkish invader Alauddin Khilji’s (Ranveer) pursuit of her. The film angered many after the Shree Rajput Karni Sena alleged it distorted historical facts and dishonoured the queen.

Padmaavat was originally slated to release on December 1 but due to vehement opposition and protests, the film’s release was stalled.