MUMBAI—The row over filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmavati" intensified on Nov. 16 after a Shri Rajput Karni Sena member threatened to chop off actress Deepika Padukone's nose amid a call for "Bharat Bandh" (shutdown) on Dec. 1 when the film is slated for pan-India release.
The Uttar Pradesh government has also said in a letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to ensure that the prospects of public outrage and unrest over "Padmavati" are considered owing to twisting of historical facts before certification of the film by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Shri Rajput Karni Sena member Mahipal Singh Makrana said in a self-made video that "Rajputs never raise a hand on women, but if need be, we will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha."
Shri Rajput Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi also said at a press conference that they would call for a "Bharat bandh" on Dec. 1.
"We will gather in lakhs; our ancestors wrote history with blood; we will not let anyone blacken it; we will call for Bharat bandh on Dec. 1," Kalvi said.
Also, Union Minister Uma Bharti lashed out at Bhansali and tweeted: "If we are talking about the respect of Padmavati, then it is our moral obligation that we respect every woman. Disrespect of the actress or actor of 'Padmavati' is uncalled for and immoral."
She added: "The director and his associate as the scriptwriter of 'Padmavati' are responsible for its story. They should have taken care of the sentiments and the historical facts."
During the shooting of the film earlier this year, a few members of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena had physically assaulted Bhansali in Jaipur. The party members also set fire to the film's set in Maharashtra.
Various organizations, political parties, and individuals have stood up for the Rajput community and have opposed the release of "Padmavati" over apprehensions that it distorts history in telling the tale of Rajput queen Padmavati.
The Congress party also said that if there are scenes that hurt the sentiments of a particular community then the same need to be reviewed.
"I have not watched the movie as yet, but definitely the Central Board of Film Certification formulated and formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has seen it and passed it without cuts.
"But any movie that hurts the sentiments of any community... a film is not made to hurt any community," said Congress Spokesperson R.P.N. Singh.
On the other hand, Deepika Padukone in an exclusive interview with IANS said nothing could stop the release of the film.
"It's appalling; it's absolutely appalling. What have we gotten ourselves into? And where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed," she said.
"The only people we are answerable to is the censor board, and I know, and I believe that nothing can stop the release of this film," said the actress, adding that the film industry's support symbolizes how "this is not about 'Padmavati'... We're fighting a much bigger battle," she added.
On his behalf, Bhansali has clarified through various platforms that the film doesn't show the Rajput community in a bad light and has been made keeping all religious sentiments in mind.
"Padmavati," which also features Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, is yet to be certified by CBFC. However, the Rajput community has demanded a special screening of the film for them before it hits the theatres.
While the film is drawing a lot of flak from the political parties, Bhansali is getting unstinted support from the film community.
"There is no fear, and one shouldn't be scared either because I think this is a democratic country and everybody should be allowed to make films they want to make," Aditi Rao Hydari, who is part of "Padmavati," said.
Actress Richa Chadha, who worked with Bhansali in "Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela," said: "With all due respect and love, I am also a Hindu, and I don't think religion is so weak that a movie can break it. And I think it is a specialty of India that we are a democracy, so watch the film before objecting."
Celebrities like Salman Khan, Karan Johar and Javed Akhtar also expressed their support to the film.