Bollywood epic Padmavati has been surrounded by controversy after Indian extremist Rajput caste group Karni Sena has made threats to any British cinema who will be screening the movie, with an arson attack. The film, which stars Bollywood starlet, Deepika Padukone, is directed by filmmaker Sanjay Bhansali who has already directed an operatic version of the poem Padmavat, upon which the movie is based.
According to Deadline, Padmavati recounts the tale of Rani Padmavati, a Mewar queen who appears in the 16th-century epic poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi. Over centuries of the poem’s retelling, it has taken on historical significance, although there is little evidence the events involving Padmavati actually occurred. The story sees a sultan lay siege to the Chittor Fort in pursuit of the queen, her husband killed, and she herself commit self-immolation rather than be captured. The film is based on Bhansali’s operatic rendition of the poem which played in Paris and Rome. Shahid Kapoor and Ranvir Singh also star.
For Karni Sena, the unverified recounts of the story are an issue. They accuse Bhansali of “distorted historical facts,” forsaking their history for the sake of art, and the director was even assaulted during filming at the top of the year.
Just this past Friday (Nov. 24th), the body of local man body was found hanging a fort in Jaipur near the site of one of the film’s shooting locations. Allegedly, a note with reference to the movie was found with the body, but Karni Sena denies any involvement with the incident.
Viacom18 has delayed the movies scheduled release date amid the chaos, releasing the following statement:
“Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind ‘Padmavati’ has voluntarily deferred the release date of the film from December 1st 2017. Along with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, amongst the most gifted film makers of his generation, Viacom18 Motion Pictures has created a beautiful cinematic masterpiece in ‘Padmavati’ that captures Rajput valor, dignity and tradition in all its glory. The film is an eloquent portrayal of a tale that will fill every Indian with pride and showcase our country’s story-telling prowess across the globe. We are a responsible, law-abiding corporate citizen and have the highest respect and regard for the law of the land and all our institutions and statutory bodies including the Central Board of Film Certification. We always have and are committed to continue following the established procedure and convention. We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film.”
We hope that a peaceful resolution can be reached for everyone involved, but violence is never the answer.