Making its stand clear on the ongoing controversy over ‘Padmavati’, the Gujarat government imposed a ban on the release of the period drama directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali in the poll-bound state. Expressing his reservations about the movie, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the film was against public sentiments and would not be screened in Gujarat until the matter got resolved.
However, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar took a moderate stand, saying the decision to allow screening of the Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone starrer would be taken only after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) arrived at a conclusion.
Rupani, joining the league of the CMs of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in condemning Bhansali, said the movie would hurt the sentiments of Rajputs.
“We can’t allow our history to be distorted. We believe in freedom of speech and expression but any foul play with our great culture is not tolerated,” PTI quoted him as saying. Rupani further claimed the decision was taken keeping in mind the law and order situation in the state during the approaching Assembly polls.
“There are issues with the film, our sympathy is with those who are protesting against the film and that is the reason we will not allow its release in the state till those issues are resolved,” Rupani said in Ahmedabad.
Khattar maintained that nobody would be allowed to hurt sentiments. Distancing himself from Haryana BJP chief media coordinator Surajpal Singh Amu’s offer of Rs 10 crore for the heads of Bhansali and Padukone, Khattar said, “The BJP has also issued a show cause notice to Amu.”
The controversy surrounding the Bhansali film also reached the Parliament as two BJP MPs, CP Joshi and Om Birla, from Rajasthan, has filed a plea regarding “objectionable” contents in the movie, leading to the matter being taken up for consideration by the Lok Sabha Committee on Petitions.
A Parliament panel has now sought a report on the movie from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and the censor board. “The panel has referred the matter to the I&B Ministry and the censor board. It has asked them to submit a report before November 30,” head of the panel Bhagat Singh Koshyari said.
Meanwhile, BJP MP and actor Shatrughan Sinha raised questions over the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I&B Minister Smriti Irani and leading Bollywood stars in the matter. “How come our I&B Minister or our most popular Hon’ble PM (according to PEW) are maintaining a stoic silence. High time!” he tweeted.
Sinha did not spare the leading Bollywood stars in his tweets. “As ‘Padmavati’ becomes a burning controversy, people are asking why the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, most versatile Aamir Khan and most popular Shah Rukh Khan have no comments,” he said.
The Karni Sena, continuing its attack on the movie, demanded the reels of the movie be burnt down. Lokendra Singh Kalvi, chief of the outfit, also took on Deepika Padukone, who plays the role of Rani Padmavati in the movie, saying, “Who is Deepika Padukone? Is she the president or the prime minister? This film will not be released at any cost,” he said.
On being questioned about the grounds on which Karni Sena was opposing the Bhansali movie, Kalvi said that it was his ‘assumption’ founded on the basis of an alleged statement of Ranveer Singh, who plays Alauddin Khilji in the movie. Bhansali, however, had recently made it clear that rumours about a romantic dream sequence between Rani Padmavati and Khilji’s characters were untrue and he had been mindful in portraying “Rajput honour and dignity”.
Kalvi also claimed to have received “life threats” from unknown numbers. “One of those numbers was traced back to Karachi,” he said.