New Delhi/Lucknow/Bareilly, Nov 19 – The makers of the movie ‘Padmavati’ deferred its release from the slated December 1, even as protests and threats over the period drama, which finds itself mired in a major controversy, continued unabated.
A fringe group targeted actress Deepika Padukone, announcing a reward of Rs 1 crore for anyone “burning her alive”, a matter, which the police said, it was looking into.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, meanwhile, said that the film would not be allowed to be released in the state unless its “controversial portions” were removed.
The widespread protests, including threats, over the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film seemed to have led to the launch of the film getting deferred.
In a statement to PTI, a spokesperson of Viacom18 Motion Pictures said it had taken the decision to “voluntarily” defer the film’s release.
“Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind ‘Padmavati’, has voluntarily deferred the release date of the film from December 1st 2017,” it said.
The spokesman said it had the highest regard for the law of the land and statutory bodies such as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
As a “responsible and law-abiding corporate citizen”, it was committed to following the established procedure and convention, it said.
“We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film,” the statement read.
Censor Board Chief Prasoon Joshi had yesterday slammed the makers for allowing the film to be screened for various media channels before obtaining a certificate from the board. The CBFC had sent the film back to the producer as the application for the certification was “incomplete”.
“…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,” the statement said.
The studio said it would soon announce the new release date for the film.
The makers reiterated that the film was a cinematic masterpiece capturing “Rajput valour, dignity and tradition in all its glory”.
In Lucknow, UP Deputy Chief Minister Maurya, however, said that the movie would not be allowed to be released in the state unless its “controversial portions” were removed.
Maurya said the legendary queen had sacrificed her life instead of surrendering before the Mughals and made a place for herself in the history.
“Islamic invaders created a lot of mayhem in the country. The ‘Rani’ burnt herself alive in ‘Jauhar’ for her ‘satitva’ (pride) and dignity,” he said.
As an entertainment department minister also, I can say that we will not let the movie be released in Uttar Pradesh unless its controversial portions are removed, Maurya said.
Earlier, on Nov 15, UP government had shot off a letter to Centre stating that releasing the Bollyoood movie on December 1 would not be in the interest of law and order of the state.
Threats continued to pour in against the film’s lead actress Padukone and director Bhansali.
A fringe group targeted Padukone, announcing a reward of Rs 1 crore for anyone “burning her alive”. Members of the Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha (ABKM) burnt over a hundred effigies of Padukone, who plays legendary Rajput queen Padmavati in the movie, and Bhansali at Damodar Swarup Park in Bareilly and shouted slogans against them.
ABKM’s youth wing leader Bhuvneshwar Singh said, “Deepika should know how it feels like to be burnt alive. The actress will never know the sacrifice of the queen. Any person burning her alive will be given Rs 1 crore. We demand that office- bearers of the organisation be shown the movie before it is released.”
Asked about Bhuvneshwar Singh’s threatening remarks, Superintendent of Police Rohit Singh Sahjawan said a report had been sought in this regard.
“We have sought a report from the policemen on duty. Thereafter, action will be taken,” he said.
In Jaipur, Shri Rajput Karni Sena demanded a complete ban on the film with its leader Lokendra Singh Kalvi questioning the funding of the film.
In Kota, a number of women members of Rajput organisation protested with swords in their hands, demanding a ban on the movie.
“Padmavati” has been facing protests over alleged “distortion of historical facts” in the film.
Earlier this year, Bhansali 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.
Padukone and Bhansali have also received threats. Their security has been beefed up by the Mumbai police.
Meanwhile, the film fraternity has come out in support of Bhansali and the team, with many leading artistes calling it an attack on creative freedom. PTI