Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh-Shahid Kapoor starrer Padmavati is yet to release, but the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film is already facing legal troubles across the country.
Several groups have objected to the content of the film, claiming it insults the Rajput community and is a distortion of history, which “hurts their religious sentiments”.
Incidentally, no one outside the film’s crew knows what exactly happens in the period drama and people have simply assumed it is a distortion of history.
Even before the film’s shooting was completed, people raised objections to it. Members of Karni Sena attacked Bhansali and his team when they were shooting for the film at Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur and even slapped the filmmaker claiming he was depicting ‘romantic scenes’ between Rani Padmavati (Deepika) and Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer). Bhansali’s production house had to issue a statement clarifying there are no such scenes in the movie.
Interestingly, the legend of Padmavati finds its root in Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem Padmavat – not history. Historian S Irfan Habib has said Padmini is a legend originating in the epic poem Padmavat written in 1540 by Malik Muhammad Jayasi. “No mention in any historical record before this,” Habib had tweeted hours after men from the Rajput Karni Sena vandalised Padmavati’s sets.
Here’s a lowdown on everything that fuelled the controversy around the film.
Karni Sena district president Narayan Divrala: We have learnt that the filmmakers are portraying the film as a love story between Alauddin Khilji and Padmini, which is a blatant distortion of history. That is why we stopped the shooting and told the makers that we won’t let them continue unless they make changes.
Bhansali Productions: We clarified that there is no dream sequence or any objectionable scene between Rani Padmavati and Allauddin Khilji. We have been carefully researching and making the film. In spite of this, the attack on the shoot and crew was uncalled for and was extremely damaging to the image of the beautiful city of Jaipur. We are grateful to the authorities at Jaipur who responded promptly and limited the damage on shoot.
Krishna Gopal Sharma, professor of history at Rajasthan University: It is a well-documented fact that Padmini was the 15th wife of Rawal Ratan Singh, who has been described as Madam Kunwar Padmini and there’s no doubt about the fact she was a real historical figure. Padmini was also from Sri Lanka, and Ratan Singh had married her there after a swayamvar. The story of how Khilji was enamoured by Padmini’s beauty and saw her reflection in water is a myth which traces its roots from Padmavat written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi.
Lokendra Singh Chundawat, head of history department in Govt PG College, Chittorgarh: In Padmavat, Jayasi wrote Padmini was from Sri Lanka but believing it would be wrong as she was born in Pungal Pradesh, an area between Bikaner and Jaisalmer. In fact, after writing Padmavat, Jayasi clarified that it is a work of fiction,
BJP MP of Ujjain, Chintamani Malviya: People like Bhansali do not understand any other language. People like him only understand the language of shoes. This country will not disrespect Rani Padmavati. We will not tolerate any distortion of our history.
BJP MLA from Goshamahal constituency Raja Singh: You (film director) show what the fact is. But, if you add masala for money and show differently, how can we keep quiet. That is why, you change the story and release the film. If you release as it is, we will stop the movie. That is our effort.
Raj Bansal, a film distributor in Rajasthan: Karni Sena and other Rajput community leaders are protesting against the film over alleged distortion of historical facts. We are also against the distortion of historical facts and will purchase the distribution rights only after the controversy is settled. “Let them reach an amicable solution, then only we will purchase the rights of the film.
BJP MLA and a member of the erstwhile Jaipur royal family Diya Kumari: I will not allow any distortion of the valiant history of Rajasthan & Sacrifice of its people in fighting barbarians by movie Padmavati.
Bajrang Dal coordinator Inderjeet Singh: We have seen a trailer of the film and it appears that the filmmaker has presented distorted facts about Rani Padmavati which is an insult to the Rajput community therefore we have decided to hold a protest in the state on November 10.
Telangana BJP MLA T Raja Singh: If the film depict history without any distortion and highlights the valour of Rajputs, we will welcome it but if it portrays them in poor light then we will not allow its release in theatres. If you are true patriots and true Hindus, you should boycott such movies. You should not help them make money. If the film flops, no other filmmaker will dare to make such movies.
Padmavati is scheduled to hit theatres on December 1.