Amid protests and vandalism across the country over the controversial release of film Padmaavat, reports suggested a good business for the film. The Rs 150 crore film was released in 4,000 screens across the country. The Multiplex Association of India said the film would not be screened in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa in view of the tenuous law and order situation.
Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much-awaited Bollywood epic has been mired in controversy for its alleged “misrepresentations” and “distortion of facts.”
The film was originally slated for release on December 1. It was cleared by the censor board with a few changes, but later banned by some state governments, including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The Supreme Court later struck down the ban, citing the freedom of expression, and paved the way for its release today.
In a particularly disturbing incident in Gurgaon, a mob attacked a school bus with children with sticks and stones. A video of the incident, which went viral, shows terrified children, studying in grades ranging from nursery to class XII, huddled on the bus in fear.
Here are Padmaavat movie protests LIVE updates
7:00 pm: Tight security has been deployed outside Padmaavat director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s residence and office in Mumbai.
6:24 pm: The shutdown across Karnataka on Thursday has delayed the screening of “Padmaavat” in Bengaluru as the movie halls remained shut till the evening. Follow Karnataka bandh live updates here
6:05 pm: Pakistan censor board has cleared the controversial Indian film “Padmaavat” without any cuts for screening in the Muslim majority country. Islamabad-based Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) chairman Mobashir Hasan took to the social media to announce that the film has been passed by the board, reports PTI. Meanwhile, Members of Chatriya Mahasabha were protesting against film Padmaawali in Lucknow on Thursday.
5:42 pm: Haryana BJP media coordinator Suraj Pal Amu has been put under “house arrest” in Gurugram even as the Bollywood movie ‘Padmaavat’ was screened peacefully in 33 cinema halls of Haryana’s nine districts on Thursday. Haryana DGP BS Sandhu confirmed that Amu was not being allowed to go out from his house. “He was not allowed to go to the MG Road (Gurugram) on Thursday,” said Sandhu. Sources said the action was taken as part of preventive measures to ensure smooth screening of Padmaavat.
5:03 pm: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat has taken the country by storm. Amid widespread protests around cinema halls by various fringe outfits in Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, 50-60 percent occupancy has been observed in cinema halls for Padmaavat shows.
Where will its box office journey start? Will the period be able to attract audiences to the theatres? Read here
4:54 pm: With protests happening all over the country against the controversial movie release Padmaavat, the centre has made clear that maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of state governments. The Ministry of Home Affairs said that the states, which have witnessed violence, should deploy Rapid Action Force, which is trained to handle such mob protests
4:32 pm: Despite protests and vandalism across the country over the release of Padmaavat, fans have not stopped themselves from watching the movie in Mumbai.
4:20 pm: Rajasthan Home Minister has appealed people to protest peacefully and not take law into their hands. He has also assured that law and order situation is peaceful in the state, adequate protection is also being provided to multiplexes screening Padmaavat.
4:08 pm: When asked about the controversy over the film “Padmaavat”, Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Thursday said that films that hurt religious sentiments of people and which are based on historical facts should not be made, reports PTI
4:01 pm: Meanwhile, at multiplexes in Noida, there were no signs of protesters or standees at the booking counters for the Bollywood period drama release Padmaavat. Read full story here
3:50 pm: Cinema halls running film Padmaavati in Lucknow are under tight security.
3:40 pm: “The government is ready to provide full protection to those ready to screen Padmaavat”, said the Haryana DGP. Strict action will be taken against people who are involved in unlawful activities, he added.
3:32 pm: Gajendra Singh, president of Kshatriya Mahasabha has announced reward worth Rs 1 Crore to the person who can chop off Deepika Padukon’s ears and Nose.
3:30 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs is keeping a track of incidents around the release of Padmaavat and is in touch with all states over security measures. So far two states have asked for help from Central Govt, said sources.
3:25 pm: Shree Rajput Karni Sena and other Rajput organisations have attacked more than half a dozen cinema halls across Bihar. A mob in Nalanda district’s Bihar Sharif town attacked a cinema hall, tore up posters of the film, damaged vehicles and threatened to set ablaze the theatre if the film is screened. Fearing repercussions from the Karni Sena, all cinema hall owners in Vaishali, Gaya, Bhagalpur and Purnea districts have decided not to screen the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film on Thursday — the day it is being released across India.
2.40 pm: Twitter is buzzing with people posting updates on what they think of the film. Here are a bunch of tweets that will make you laugh! Click to read.
2.06 pm: The Association of India (MAI) says its members in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa would not screen Padmaavat today. Citing the “prevailing law and order situation”, MAI president Deepak Asher had said yesterday, “The safety of our patrons and visitors to the malls and multiplexes is of paramount importance, and under the present circumstances, it was apprehended that there could be a potential risk to such safety.”
1.50 pm: To help maintain law and order in Gujarat, over 20,000 policemen and paramilitary personnel are deployed across the state. The situation remains normal, with educational institutions, offices and markets open in most parts of the state, reports PTI. There have been no incidents of violence today, the police added.
1.32 pm: “Not a single tweet from Cong president condemning Karni Sena violence, instead just a cheesy tweet like this one,” reads a tweets from the official handle of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, following an incident of a school bus ferrying children was attacked in Gurgaon. Read more here.
1.21 pm: Following the Gurgaon school bus attack yesterday, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had called the incident “utterly shameful.” Taking to Twitter, he added, “If all state govts, central govt and SC together cannot get one movie released and run safely, how can we expect investments to flow in? Forget FDI, even local investors wud feel hesitant. Not gud for already dwindling economy. Bad for jobs.”
Kejriwal’s comments were “endorsed” by BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha this morning who tweeted, “I strongly endorse our friend Kejriwal’s tweet in National interest.If Centre & all State Govts, with clear directions from the SC can’t get ONE movie(Padmavat)released & run safely, can we expect investment to flow smoothly from Davos, Switz or for that matter even Timbuctu?”
1.10 pm: The Udaipur district administration has requested schools and colleges to refrain from playing Padmaavat song Ghoomar on Republic Day tomorrow following a memorandum by the Karni Sena which threatened an apriya ghatna (undesirable incident) if it is played or danced to. The movie is not being screened in theatres in the state as leading distributors and cinema hall owners fear a “potential risk to property and life.”
12.52 pm: DMK Working President MK Stalin says it is “extremely disturbing” to see protesters attack children. He tweets, “It is extremely disturbing to see hooligans masquerading as protesters, attack school children. The deafening silence of Central and BJP ruled State Govts in the face of such lawlessness is detestable. I seek immediate intervention to protect public from these extremist elements.”
12.41 pm: The Haryana police have arrested 18 people in connection with the school bus attack in Gurgaon yesterday. A bus ferrying 10 students — the youngest was 4-years-old — was attacked by a mob with sticks and stones yesterday. The agitators had torched a Haryana Roadways bus, after which they targetted the school bus. A video of the incident showed children crouched in the bus, some crying, as the driver tried to drive away.
Beyond the news | How is Karni Sena, the group behind Padmavati protests, so powerful?
12.28 pm: Yesterday, we asked our readers whether they are going to watch Padmaavat and here’s what they said. Are you going to watch the film? Tell us in the comment section below!
12.26 pm: In response to the Gurgaon school bus attack, Haryana minister Ram Bilas Sharma tells ANI, “It is a worrying incident and I am sure there will be a solution to this whole issue today. Hume aisi ghatna ka andesha nahi tha (We did not anticipate such incidents),” he said.
12.15 pm: Ranip bus terminal in Ahmedabad has suspended services due to the bandh called by the protesters over the screening of Padmaavat. Several malls remained closed today as well, in light of the protests.
12.00 pm: On the day of its release, there are three fresh petitions filed in the courts. One has been filed in the Delhi HC by Jauhar Smriti Sansthan which seeks quashing of the certificate granted to Padmaavat — the HC has directed the petitioner to move the SC which allowed the film to be released. Two other pleas are filed in the SC, by Congress’ Tehseen Poonawalla and a lawyer, seeking contempt action against members of the Karni Sena for violating the SC’s orders. The top court has agreed to hear the contempt petitions on Monday. Read more here.
11.57 pm: In case you’re just joining us, here’s what’s been happening: Padmaavat released in theatres across the country today. While the screening of the film in some halls, such as in Noida and Pune, remained peaceful, others cancelled shows or stuck to their decision not to screen the movie. Protests by the Karni Sena and other fringe groups continued in several parts of the country today, including in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Is your city screening the film? Tell us in the comment section below!
11:35 am: Protesters brandish swords, burn tires in protest against Padmaavat in Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
11:22 am: A petition has been mentioned in the Delhi High Court for quashing of certificate granted to film ‘Padmaavat’, reports PTI. The High Court has asked petitioner Jauhar Smriti Sansthan to move the Supreme Court as it permitted release of the film.
11:15 am: Padmaavat will get an earth-shattering response, says Deepika Padukone. “I am extremely overwhelmed and emotional right now. I think this film has been through so much. To see that the film is finally releasing and to see the kind of reactions that the film is getting, reactions to my performance, it is extremely overwhelming,” PTI quoted Deepika as telling the reporters last night.
11:05 am: A contempt petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against three members of Karni Sena for violating the apex court order on Padmaavat, reports ANI. Another contempt petition has been filed against four states in Supreme Court wherein the petitioner has claimed that the states had failed in their duty to maintain law and order.
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) January 25, 2018
10.45 am: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy says, “It opens old wounds, and that is why such films should not be made. What is the historical value of it? Zero. They say it has nothing to do with history, then why are you making it,” reports ANI.
10.30 am: Meanwhile, Padmaavat has been cleared for release in Pakistan by its censor board. A Pakistani Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) top official, Mobashir Hasan said, “Padmaavat has been declared fit for public exhibition in the cinema houses without any excision by CBFC,” reports IANS. The movie has reportedly been given a ‘U’ certificate.
10.20 am: ‘Nervous,’ ‘overwhelmed,’ ‘relieved‘: This is what lead actors Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor have to say about Padmaavat’s release. Deepika plays Queen Padmavati in the film while Shahid plays Maharawal Ratan Singh, husband to Queen Padmavati and Ranveer Alauddin Khilji.
10.17 am: Congress leader Digvijay Singh tells ANI, “Films which hurt sentiments of any religion or caste should not be made.”
10.15 am: While we can’t verify this, a report states members of the Karni Sena torched a vehicle belonging to its own activist on Wednesday, while protesting the release of Padmaavat. The police have reportedly detained six people in connection with this incident.
10.14 am: In Noida, PVR ECX manager Vivek says they are not displaying any posters or standees because they haven’t received any fresh advertising material from the filmmakers. The initial set of publicity material was sent in November, 2017 before the title was changed to Padmaavat, he adds.
10.10 am: After watching a special screening of Padmaavat, Rajput leaders in Punjab withdrew their opposition on Wednesday. The Rajput Mahasabha, which was against the movie’s release, found “nothing objectionable” against the community. “We will suggest that community members all over the country must watch the movie because it is in fact showing the Rajput community in a good light,” one leader said. Read: In Punjab twister, Rajput leaders give Padmaavat a big thumbs-up
9.52 am: Here’s E P Unny’s cartoon in The Indian Express today. For more cartoons, click here.
9.23 am: The first show of Padmaavat is underway at Carnival Cinemas in Noida Sector-18. Police personnel is deployed in the complex to ensure law and order in maintained.
— Leela Prasad (@theblcksheep) January 25, 2018
9.21 am: With the movie hitting theatres today, find out what film critics and fans are saying about Padmaavat. Meanwhile, new posters for the film were released today as well by the producers. See them here!
9.15 am: In Madhya Pradesh, three Muslim youths were arrested for an alleged offensive Facebook post and comments against queen Padmini. They were booked under Section 295 A (deliberate and malicious act, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class).
9.00 am: Congress president Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter on Wednesday after a school bus with children aboard was targetted by mobs in Gurgaon. He targetted what he called the BJP’s “use of hatred and violence,” saying it is “setting our entire country on fire.”
There will never be a cause big enough to justify violence against children. Violence and hatred are the weapons of the weak. The BJP’s use of hatred and violence is setting our entire country on fire.
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) January 24, 2018
8.55 am: There were several protests across Maharashtra as well. In Mumbai, many special screenings were cancelled and attendance remained low. In Pune, 10 vehicles were torched by mobs near Vadgaon Bridge. The police arrested 15 people in connection with the violence, all of whom are from Rajasthan.
8.52 am: In Haryana, a school bus ferrying 10 children, teachers and staff was attacked by a mob that had just torched a Haryana Roadways bus. A video of the incident, captured by a passenger on the bus, went viral on Wednesday and drew reactions from many politicians. Haryana ministers, who have opposed the screening of the Padmaavat, remained silent yesterday after the SC rejected to modify its order on its release. Several schools are closed today as a precautionary measure.
8.40 am: In Uttar Pradesh, special screenings of Padmaavat were cancelled after several parts of the state, including Lucknow, erupted in protests. In Meerut, protesters pelted stones on a multiplex while in Kanpur, according to news agency PTI, a group announced a bounty on Deepika Padukone’s nose. Read more here.
8.35 am: In Gujarat, the police arrested at least 45 and booked them for conspiracy, attempt to murder and attempt to commit culpable homicide, damaging private properties. Four FIRs were filed, in which over 2,000 people are named. According to the FIR, “The accused conspired to vandalise cinema halls, beat people and on the pretext of candlelight march, held an illegal assembly.”
8.30 am: Here’s a recap of what happened yesterday: A day ahead of the release of Padmaavat, protests intensified across the country as members of fringe groups reiterated their call for a ban. Violence was reported in several states, including Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, among others. Protesters took to the streets holding demonstrations, blocking highways and torching vehicles. Despite heightened security, there were incidents of violence.
8.15 am: The film, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and starring Deepika Padukone, Raveen Singh and Shahid Kapoor, hits theatres across the country today. Shubra Gupta, who’s reviews the film, gives it 2.5 stars, and writes that Padmaavat is spectacular; no one can do spectacle like Bhansali. Read the review here.
(With inputs from ENS and agencies)