'Padmavati' release put off as protests continue

 Members of the Mumbai Rajput community protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali, demanding ban on his film “Padmavati”, at Azad maidan in Mumbai on November.

Members of the Mumbai Rajput community protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali, demanding ban on his film “Padmavati”, at Azad maidan in Mumbai on November.

Amid protests in several States, producers of the Hindi film Padmavati , on Sunday deferred its December 1 release. Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind Sanjay Leela Bhansali's historical movie, said in a statement that it would announce the revised release date in due course, while reiterating that the film was a cinematic masterpiece capturing “Rajput valour, dignity and tradition in all its glory.”

“We are a responsible, law-abiding corporate citizen and have the highest respect and regard for the law of the land and all our institutions and statutory bodies, including the Central Board of Film Certification,” the Viacom 18 statement said.

However, the Rajput Karni Sena, which has been spearheading the agitation against the movie, demanded a complete ban on the film, saying the “distortion of history” and invention of a romantic relationship between Chittorgarh’s Queen Padmini and Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji was not acceptable. The outfit has, however, decided not to go ahead with the Bharat bandh on December 1.

Karni Sena founder-patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi told reporters in Jaipur that the film makers had unilaterally postponed its release without taking the Rajput groups into confidence, even though Mr. Bhansali had earlier promised to keep them informed. “He did not show Padmavati to us, but has decided to defer its release after selective screening before people whom we don't know,” Mr Kalvi said.

“These cultural goons have held Rajput bodies responsible for the mess which they themselves have created. We don’t perceive the film’s postponement as our victory,” said Mr. Kalvi. He said the Rajput groups would wait for a few days before deciding on the next course of action.

While affirming that deferring the release of Padmavati could be a “strategy to hoodwink [the] protesters”, Mr. Kalvi alleged that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim was secretly funding the film.

Mr Kalvi also objected to actor Deepika Padukone’s remarks that nothing could stop the release of the film. Ms. Padukone plays Queen Padmini in the film.

Elsewhere in Rajasthan, protests against the film continued on Sunday in several towns with Rajput women holding swords joining the agitation. Police dispersed a crowd outside a cinema theatre at Amrapali Circle in Vaishali Nagar here.

A delegation from the Mewar region, which included Urban Development Minister Shrichand Kriplani and Chittorgarh MLA Chandrabhan Singh, met Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and thanked her for writing to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani. Ms. Raje has requested the Centre to ensure that Padmavati was not released without necessary changes.

Demonstration in Kolkata

In Kolkata, a group with “saffron headbands and flags” held a protest outside a cinema hall in South Kolkata where the movie was scheduled to be released next week.

“At around 10 am today (Sunday) a procession was passing near the cinema hall. Suddenly about a dozen people barged into the premises. They started shouting slogans against the movie,” the manager of Navina Cinema Hall, Goutam Sapui told The Hindu . He also said the protesters “threatened that they will not let the movie to be released.” However, Mr. Saui said the protesters did not resort to vandalism.

Condemning the incident, Sahitya Akademi winner poet Subodh Sarkar said “This is a blatant attack on the freedom of artistes and the people of Bengal will never accept such actions.” Mr

Viacom 18 hopeful

Viacom18 Motion Pictures, which has said that it took the postponement decision “voluntarily”, also stated that it had faith that it would soon obtain the requisite clearances for the film. “We stand firm in our commitment to tell endearing tales that resonate with our audiences the world over as we have in the past with our other projects such as Toilet: Ek Prem Katha , Queen , Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and many more,” it said.

The Censor Board had earlier sent the movie back to the producer, stating that the application for certification was “incomplete”. CBFC Chairman Prasoon Joshi had expressed displeasure at the film being screened fir journalists ahead of a certificate from the censor board.



(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 7:24:32 am |