Jaipur: Rajasthan minister Kiran Maheshwari on Wednesday joined the chorus of protests against Bollywood movie ‘Padmavati’ even as the Shri Rajput Karni Sena called for a country-wide bandh on December 1 opposing the film’s release.
The Rajasthan State Commission for Women (RSCW) also wrote to the censor board asking it to clear the “ambiguity” over the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film “in the interest of law and order”.
The protests, meanwhile, also reached south with Karni Sena members staging a demonstration in Bengaluru, the capital of southern Indian state of Karnataka.
In Jaipur, Karni Sena leader Lokendra Singh Kalvi said the reported comments by actress Deepika Padukone, who plays the legendary queen in the movie, that nothing can stop the release of the film was provocative.
“Deepika Padukone’s statement is provocative and I take it as a challenge, therefore, I have called for a nationwide bandh,” Kalvi said.
“Ye jauhar ki jwala hai bahut kuch jalega. Rokna hai to Padmini ko rok lo (This is the flame of the Jauhar and a lot will burn. Stop it if you want to),” he threatened.
The Karni Sena seemed to have found some support in Maheshwari, a minister in the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan. Maheshwari said she strongly opposed the film claiming it was made purely for money making and entertainment.
In a social media post, the minister said that Rani Padmini had performed ‘Jauhar’ with 16,000 women. “Deceit in any case with the history of immortal valour of such women cannot be accepted,” she wrote.
Rajasthan’s commission for women chief Suman Sharma, meanwhile, wrote to the censor board seeking clarity over movie so that peace is maintained.
In a letter to Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prasoon Joshi, Sharma said that it needs to seen that the movie does not affect the dignity of women.
Members of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena claimed that not just the Rajput community or Hindu organisations but even Muslim leaders had come out against the film.
Karni Sena leader Kalvi demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervene in the matter saying the central government had the powers, as per the provisions of the Cinematography Act, to stop the release of a film for three months.
That provision should be invoked in case of Padmavati which is slated to be released on December 1, he demanded.
“We are calling for a country-wide bandh on December 1 if the film is released. We have the support of all castes and communities. We will hold public meetings and rallies in Gurgaon, Patna and Bhopal before that,” Kalvi told reporters.
He claimed that film hall owners’ association and distributors had refused to release the film in the state and leaders from political parties and communities were coming in support of the demand that there should be no distortion of historical facts.
He said that the film maker had promised to organise a pre-screening before the censor board’s approval but he released the promo and song without taking the Rajput community into confidence.
The sena is not demanding any pre-screening now but a total ban as the filmmaker had “betrayed”, he said.
The protests spread to the south as Rajput community members on Wednesday staged a demonstration and held a rally in Bengaluru.
A large number of people from the Karni Rajput Sena turned up at the Town Hall in the heart of the city and marched up to the Freedom Park.
“What we have learnt is that there is lots of distortion of historical facts. Till our objections are addressed, we will not let the movie to be screened anywhere,” said Sukhdev Singh, president of the Karni Sena.
In Uttar Pradesh, Director General of Police Sulkhan Singh said the force had been asked to remain extra vigilant in view of the scheduled release of the film.
The protests against ‘Padmavati’ had till now been confined to the northern and western parts of the country.
Bhansali has been facing trouble since he started shooting for the movie. The set of the movie was vandalised twice — in Jaipur and Kolhapur — and the director was roughed up by members of the Karni Sena during the Jaipur schedule of the film earlier this year.
The Supreme Court had recently refused to entertain a plea seeking a stay on the release of Padmavati, saying the censor board was yet to certify the movie.