Padmavati: Why the movie is struggling to release
The film Padmavati tells the story of 14th century Rajput queen Rani Padmini and Alauddin Khilji, the Muslim ruler. Story has it that before Khilji reached the Chittor fort in an attempt to capture the queen, she, along with 16,000 other Rajput women committed self-immolation inorder to escape the enemy.
The movie directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali stars Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles. The movie along with its producers and actors have been facing the heat from certain religious groups and Rajput caste organisations who have been alleging that the movie depicts an intimate romantic scene between the queen and Alauddin Khilji.
To begin with, there is no consensus on Rani Padmini’s existence in the history. She was first mentioned in 16th century Sufi poet Muhammad Malik Jayasi’s poem, Padmavat which tells the story of the siege of Chittorgrah by Turkic emperor Alauddin Khilji. Although the story of Rani Padmini has achieved legend status, there is no proof that she had actual roots in history.
The problem started rising based on a speculation on the existence of a romantic dream sequence between Rani Padmini and khilji, which the producers of the movie denied. For the alleged distortion of history, political groups have been up in arms against Bhansali's magnum opus.
On January 27, the members of Shri Rajput Karni Sena vandalised the sets of Padmavati in Jaipur destroying expensive film equipment and assaulted Sanjay Leela Bhansali. After the assault, the Bhansali productions issued a statement clarifying the existence of no such dream sequence. The statement also said that they “do not want to hurt any sentiments”.
Two days later, a BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh announced a reward for anyone who slapped Bhansali with a shoe. Later on the fifith of March, the Karni Sena vandalised the Chittor Fort, smashing mirrors in Padmini Mahal where Alauddin Khilji supposedly saw the queen’s reflection. The group claimed that the mirrors were not part of the history as they were not even invented when Rani Padmini lived.
After Sanjay Leela Bhansali shifted base to Kolhapur, some 50 men set fire to the film set there. resulting in thye destrucyion of production equipment and costumes worth crores. Following burning of film posters, the Karni sena also threatened not to allow the release of the movie, the reason being that the movie is not being shown to the group’s leaders first. Also, in September the rangoli of Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmini made by artist Karan K was destroyed by a mob of 100 people. Calling the act “disgusting and appalling,” Deepika had urged Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani to take action as a result of which four members of the sena was arrested.
absolutely heart breaking to see the recent attack on artist Karan and his artwork!disgusting and appalling to say the least! pic.twitter.com/Ot2Aki0MiA— Deepika Padukone (@deepikapadukone) October 18, 2017
While earlier this month the Bharatiya Janatha Party asked for a temporary stay in the release of the movie, they demanded for a special screening for the leaders of the community.
Amidst threats to chop off Deepika Padukone's nose and Bhansali's head, the team is unfazed by all the threats and remains positive on the movie's future. While states like Gujart, UP, Rajasthan and Bihar have banned the release of the movie, Kerala and West Bengal are staying positive to release the movie.