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Makers, protesters both at fault: Manoj Kumar on ‘Padmavati’

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Mumbai: Labelling the whole drama surrounding “Padmavati” as “nonsense”, veteran actor Manoj Kumar says both the makers and the protesters are at fault.

The actor blamed the two parties for mishandling the situation.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” has been mired in controversy after several Rajput groups alleged that history has been “distorted” in the movie. Chief ministers of BJP- ruled states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat have called for a ban on the period drama.

Bhansali has claimed there is no “distortion” of history in the entire film.

Both, Bhansali and leading lady Deepika Padukone have received death threats for being associated with the film.

In an interview, Kumar says, “I will blame both the sides. This is nonsense. If the Rajputs feel something is wrong, they should have written to the makers that before releasing the film, kindly show it to us.

“The producers should have written to them after their objection, that come and see the film and finish the matter in one hour. This is washing dirty linen in public. To some extent even the media is also to be blamed.”

Various Rajput groups have accused Bhansali of filming a romantic dream sequence between Rajput queen Padmini (Deepika) and Sultan Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh), a claim repeatedly denied by the filmmaker.

Historians are divided on whether Padmavati actually existed.

Kumar, who wrote and starred in historical-period drama, “Shaheed”, on the life of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, believes one can take liberty while making a film based on history only when it does not tamper with the facts.

“When I started to make films, I started writing about Bhagat Singh in my earlier days. There were some incidents which I had to conceive within the framework. Every film made later on Bhagat Singh featured the scenes which I had conceived…

“You have to imagine some linking sequences within the framework (of the material). ‘Padmavati’ was made in Tamil also but nobody objected to it,” he says.

The Deepika-Shahid Kapoor-Ranveer starrer was earlier scheduled to release on 1 December . The makers deferred the release till they receive a certificate from the CBFC.

The 80-year-old actor says he too has been a “victim” of the censor board with his 1987 “Kalyug Aur Ramayan”.

Kumar starred and wrote the film which got embroiled in a controversy.

“There was a song in the film ‘Kalyug Ki Sita Milne Judge Ko Chali/Sau Chuhe Khake Billi Haj Ko Chali…’ I was not talking about Ram-Sita here. It was a novel subject to me but there was a huge uproar by some groups back then and they created ruckus at the censor board.”

Kumar says to avoid the censor troubles, guidelines of who is going to censor films and whether they understand the “language of cinema and the background” needs to be very clear.

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