OSNepal, Kathmandu, 12th Jan: Gujarat became the third state on Friday to block controversial Bollywood movie Padmavat as Madhya Pradesh indicated it will stick to an older ban order on the period drama that faces violent protests despite censor board clearance and a change of name. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani told reporters that an order banning the movie, which depicts the life of legendary Rajput queen Padmini or Padmavati, is already in effect. The film is slated for release on January 25, say industry sources. “The Gujarat government’s earlier order banning screening of the film stays. There is no scope to release in the state unless any changes in the earlier order are made,” Rupani told the media.His comment came on a day Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan hinted that his government’s stance of banning the movie last November was unchanged. “Jo kaha tha wo hoga (What I had said will happen)” was Chouhan’s curt response. Rajasthan has already banned the film.
The movie is facing violent protests by members of a caste group, the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, who blame the director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and lead actors of insulting Rajputs and the community’s honour. The protesters have issued death threats against Bhansali and Deepika Padukone, who plays Padmini, over allegations that the queen romances Muslim emperor Alauddin Khilji in the movie – a charge the filmmakers have denied. Historians are divided on whether the queen existed.
The film’s December 1 release was put off and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared the movie after ordering a change in the title, from its earlier Padmavati, and five modifications. But the protesters aren’t happy and have warned of a “public curfew” if the film is released.The film might also face problems in other states such as Himachal Pradesh, where Rajputs form more than a third of the population, though chief minister Jai Ram Thakur has remained non-committal about this government’s response to the controversy.
In November 2016, when the Karni Sena and some other Rajput groups led protests against the film, Rupani had said, “Considering the appeal from the community, which says the film hurts their sentiments, the government has decided to ban the film.” At that time Rupani had maintained that he did not need to watch the movie as the ban was ordered purely to respect the sentiments of people. Cities like Surat and Rajkot had seen protests against the film. A Rangoli by a local artist at a Surat shopping mall portraying Padukone as Rani Padmini was vandalised by the fringe group members. Award-winning director Bhansali is Gujarati, whose previous films like Hum Dil Chuke Sanam and Ramleela were based around the state’s culture.
In the third week of November, Madhya Pradesh had become the first state to ban the film. Calling Rani Padmini ‘Rashtramata’ (Mother of the Nation), Chouhan had said the film that distorted historical facts would not be allowed to be released. “The insult will not be tolerated,” Chouhan had. He had said even if the movie was passed by the censor board for release in the country, it won’t make it to the screens in the state.