Padmavati Trouble

Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor play Rani Padmavati and Maharawal Ratan Singh in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's “Padmavati.” The film is slated for release on Dec. 1. (YouTube screenshot photo)

JAIPUR/HYDERABAD—Film distributors in Rajasthan are wary of releasing Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmavati," scheduled to hit the screens on Dec. 1.

"I can talk about my company. We will not like to buy the distribution rights of the film till the controversy is resolved," Raj Bansal, a leading film distributor in Jaipur, told IANS.

Echoing similar views, another distributor on condition of anonymity, said: "No one would like to be part of controversy... So I would not like to buy the distribution rights."

The Sri Rajput Karni Sena, an organization of the Rajput community and the Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha, a Brahmin community organization, have decided to oppose the release of the film. According to them, historical facts have been distorted in the film.

"They are trying to defame Padmavati by distorting historical facts. It is not acceptable," an activist of Sri Rajput Karni Sena said.

There are around 300 screens in Rajasthan, and it will be a loss of around Rs 5 crore if the film is not released in the state, sources said.

"We are demanding that Bhansali's team should screen the movie for historians and intellectuals before releasing it as was promised by them a few months back. We are apprehensive that historical facts have been distorted in the movie," Vishavbandhu Rathore, Pradesh Mahasachiv, Sri Rajput Karni Sena, told IANS.

In January, activists of Sri Rajput Karni Sena had protested, manhandled and misbehaved with the crew of "Padmavati," claiming Bhansali was distorting historical facts in the movie.

The Sri Rajput Karni Sena, along with other organizations, had called for a Chittorgarh bandh on Nov. 3. Along with like-minded organizations, the Karni Sena plans to organize a big rally in Gandhinagar in Gujarat on Nov. 12 against the movie.

“Padmavati” sets out to tell the tale of Rani Padmavati (the legendary Mewar queen known as much for her beauty and intelligence as she was for her courage), her husband Maharawal Ratan Singh (a glorious Rajput ruler and a warrior king who fought till his dying breath to defend his kingdom and his wife's honour), and Sultan Alauddin Khilji, an ambitious and obsessive invader.

In another incident, a legislator of BJP from Hyderabad has threatened to burn down theatres in Telangana if they screen the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film.

T. Raja Singh, a member of Telangana assembly, called upon people to boycott the movie, saying as an attempt is being made to denigrate Rajput community.

The MLA even announced that he would bail out youth if they are arrested for setting afire the theatres.

Singh, himself a Rajput, issued the threat while addressing a meeting of a Rajasthani organization in Hyderabad. He termed the movie a conspiracy to show Rajputs in poor light by defaming their queens.

The MLA posted on Facebook his speech delivered at the meeting on Nov. 4.

He called Bhansali a "dog" for allegedly portraying Padmavathi as a lover of Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji. He claimed that 16,000 brave women immolated themselves when Chittorgarh fort was attacked.

He said the filmmaker had still not responded to the demand from Rajput and Kshatriya organizations that the movie should be shown to them before releasing in theaters.

"If the film depicts history without any distortion and highlights the valor of Rajputs, we will welcome it, but if it portrays them in poor light then we will not allow its release in theatres," he said.

The MLA said producers were producing such films to make money as more people were going to theatres to watch them due to the controversies. He said "PK" earned Rs 500 crore as more people watched it after the protests.

"If you are true patriots and true Hindus, you should boycott such movies. You should not help them make money. If the film flops, no other filmmaker will dare to make such movies," said Singh, who represents Goshamahal constituency and is known for making controversial statements.

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