West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she would welcome “Padmavati” director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his team to the state and make special arrangements for the film’s premiere and release.
Banerjee’s statement comes just days after she tweeted that the row over the film was a “calculated plan” to destroy freedom of expression in the country.
“If they (Bhansali and producer) cannot release Padmavati in any other state, we will make special arrangements for it in our state. Bengal will be very happy and Bengal will be proud to do that. We will take care of it. Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his Padmavati team are welcome in our state,” she said at the India Today Conclave East, 2017.
On November 20, the chief minister had tweeted, “The Padmavati controversy is not only unfortunate but also a calculated plan of a political party to destroy the freedom to express ourselves”.
“We condemn this super emergency. All in the film industry must come together and protest in one voice,” Banerjee had added.
The release of the film, which has been directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and stars Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, has been deferred indefinitely by its producers, Viacom 18. It was initially slated to release on December 1.
The film, which is based on the story of Rajput queen, is mired in controversy with right-wing groups across the country claiming it distorts history.
The film has been facing controversy since Bhansali started its shooting earlier this year.
The director was roughed up by members of the fringe group Rajput Karni Sena in Jaipur. Its elaborate sets were also vandalised during shooting schedules in Jaipur and Kolhapur.
The first poster of the movie was released in October this year and triggered a storm with various Rajput groups and others alleging that the director had “distorted” historical facts.