There seems to be no end in sight to the controversy surrounding director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmavati’ as it continued to earn brickbats on Tuesday even after the makers, Viacom 18, decided to defer the release of the historical drama. The Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone starrer, however, found support from Bollywood personalities.
But, the fiercest attack of the day came from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who said Bhansali was habitual of playing with public sentiments. Lashing out at the director, whose period drama Bajirao Mastani too had courted controversy, Adityanath said the director was no less guilty than those issuing threats of beheading to actors involved with the film. He asserted that if there was any action, “it will be against both the sides”.
“No one has the right to take the law into their own hands, whether it is Sanjay Leela Bhansali or anyone else. If those threatening (the actors of the film) are guilty, Bhansali is no less guilty,” PTI quoted the CM as saying. The Uttar Pradesh government has already said it would not allow the movie’s release till certain “controversial portions” were removed.
However, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said the censor board should be allowed to do their job. “The CBFC has been formed for a purpose. Let it do its job,” PTI quoted Rathore as saying.
Union Minister Birender Singh too adopted a conciliatory tone than his fellow politicians, saying those opposing ‘Padmavati’ should see the film first and then demand cuts if anything is found to be objectionable. “Some of the historic facts may not be in consonance with our thinking….those who are opposing, first they should see the movie. If they find something which hurts them, (they can ask producers to) remove those (parts),” PTI quoted Singh as saying.
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan also expressed his views on the issue. Khan said films had been made about Muslims too, but they had never objected because a story couldn’t ruin their history. “There is objection over story of a film. Famous film Mughal-e-Azam showed Anarkali as Saleem’s mehbooba, when in reality there is no such thing. But no Muslim leader objected to it because it is a story and Muslims are large-hearted and they know a film can’t ruin their history,” ANI quoted him as saying.
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Meanwhile, Deepika Padukone, who was set to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, has decided to give the event a miss, even as security was beefed up around her residence in Bengaluru. However, the reasons for dropping her name from the event, which will also be attended by US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, were not clear. Her co-star Ranveer Singh reiterated that he was “200 per cent behind Bhansali”.
On the sidelines of the IFFI in Goa, film-maker Sudhir Mishra said a director’s right to express was as fundamental as a person’s right to protest. “As a industry we stand by each other defending our right to make films. And if any one has any problem with the film they are free to express as we live in a democracy. But you can’t take away my right to express as a film-maker as well. It is as fundamental as expressing protest and that’s all we are saying,” PTI quoted Mishra as saying.
It was also reported that the film’s producers had filed a fresh application to the CBFC. A source from the production house, however, told PTI that no concrete decision had been reached yet. “We will decide the release date of the film after getting the certificate from the CBFC. We will wait for the censor board to give us clearance and then decide which is the best date for the release,” the source said.