Amid political protest over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati, the residents of Ahmedabad are eagerly awaiting its release. The period film featuring Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati alongside Shahid Kapoor as Rawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji is set to hit the theatres on December 1.
In parts of the country, the Rajput community has been protesting against the film saying that the movie suggests an “amorous relationship” between Padmavati, a Rajput queen and Allaudin Khilji, which it claims is distortion of history.
The first signs of protest in Gujarat were witnessed in Surat where a rangoli depicting Deepika Padukone in the movie by artist Karan K was destroyed by protesters. BJP, the ruling party in the state, on Thursday wrote to the Election Commission demanding a temporary stay on the film’s release for allegedly hurting sentiments of the Kshatriya community. The BJP alleged that the film shows a controversial twist in history and wrongly links queen Padmavati with aggressive ruler Alauddin Khilji.
“We are writing to the Election Commission, the CBFC and the Centre, seeking to stop the film’s release for a temporary period till the issue is resolved… An attempt has been made to wrongly link the two characters (Padmavati and Khilji) of history,” BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja said at a press conference. Former Congress leader and founder of Jan Vikalp, Shankersinh Vaghela, said that the BJP was trying to mislead the Kshatriya community on the film by going to the Election Commission. He demanded that the film be shown to the Kshatriya community before its release.
However, the people in Ahmedabad are of the opinion that since the movie is a piece of art, politics should not come in the way of its expression. Arguing that banning a film for it might spark violence would set a wrong precedent, Siddharth Iyer a college student said, “Banning a film can never be a solution. Creativity should be respected. Just because the film alters history does not mean the makers are insensitive to historical figures. The makers can add a disclaimer at the beginning of the film appoigising, if any sentiments are hurt.”
Another college student, Khanjan Thaker said, “The film is depicting a part of our Indian history, which the people might not be aware of.” While most people are against the ban on the film, homemaker Jyotika Uppal believes that a movie cannot influence elections. She said, “Politicians politicise films. We have CBFC to look after the content of films.” The state elections have been scheduled for December 9 and December 14.