With attempts to block the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat failing, the Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS) on Wednesday exhorted people to enforce a ‘janta curfew’ by boycotting the film. The outfit’s chief, founder patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi, also claimed that other groups are taking part in violence in the name of Karni Sena. “I don’t know whether it (those responsible for violence) is Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal or the Hindu Mahasabha,” he said. Padmaavat is scheduled to release on Thursday.
“We ask people to impose a janta curfew. There is a false propaganda that Karni Sena has watched the movie and cleared it. It has not and they should not be misled. The people of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar… should block its release,” Kalvi said. SRKS’s Rajasthan unit president Mahipal Singh Makrana said, “We have said from the beginning that our protest will be non-violent but the fire within has to escape somehow.”
Told that there are many in Rajasthan who may want to watch the movie, he said, “Those who want to watch should leave the state. They are not worthy of living in Rajasthan. Anyone who can’t save his sisters and daughters cannot have Rajasthani blood and is not a Rajasthani.” With options running out before SRKS, Kalvi said he is ready to be arrested.
Sporadic violence was reported from various places in Rajasthan. In Chittor, the threat by Jauhar Kshatrani Manch to commit jauhar (self-immolation) at Jauhar Kund in Chittorgarh Fort fizzled out amid a heavy barricade by police at Padal Pole gate, where police screened tourists. “They are not allowing us to live with swabhimaan (pride), and now they are not allowing us to even die with swabhimaan,” Jauhar Kshatrani Manch president Manjushree Shaktawat said.
Leading film distributors and some cinema hall and multiplex owners in Rajasthan have already announced that they will not distribute or screen the movie here. “The release dates of PadMan and Aiyaary were pushed forward to February — there was so much hype around Padmaavat that it was assumed the other two movies will not succeed. So with no release this week or next week, producers, distributors and the cinema hall owners here will suffer,” said Raj Bansal, a leading film distributor of Rajasthan.