Padmavati , an epic Indian drama in which a Sultan leads an invasion to capture a Rajput Queen, has been in the news for quite some time now. The reason behind this is that the film became quite controversial during production. Sanjay Leela Bansali, the director of the movie, Deepika Padukone, lead actress playing the role of a Rajput Queen, Padmavati and Ranveer Singh, lead actor playing the role of a Muslim ruler, Allaudin Khilji have repeatedly received death and mutilation threats from various caste groups. The controversy is getting so heated day-by-day that there are now bounties on the heads of Bansali and Deepika. Several leaders from various parties like BJP, Congress etc., have demanded that the film be banned. The movie scheduled to release on December 1, is now hanging on a thin thread. Shri Rajput Karni Sena, a Rajput Caste Organisation, the most prominent of various groups protesting against the release of the movie, allege that the movie depicts factual inaccuracies and portrays the Rajput Queen, Padmavati in bad light. As usual, there are counter allegations against these organizations that all these charges are cooked up and falsified in order to extort money from the film makers. There were also reports of vandalism of the Padmavati Palace, the sets of the movie and posters during the course of the production in this year. Various Historians are criticizing the protests claiming it to be baseless and void. They claim that Padmavati was a fictional character and completely based on the poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s epic ‘Padmavat’. A lot of people claim that these allegations are falsified and are clearly done with an aim of gaining a political advantage. Despite all these controversies and negativity , a lot of people have praised the movie and described it as “the greatest tribute to Rajput Pride”. Sanjay Leela Bansali, also faced a similar situation during the production of his movie “Goliyon Ka Rasleela: Ram-Leela”(2013) where FIR’s were filed against the same cast, Bansali, Deepika and Ranveer Singh because people were offended by the title of the movie. It was alleged that the name hurt the sentiments of Hindus, as it was based on a Hindu Mythology. This brings up the question, “Are these allegations true or simply a grudge against the trio?”. What is also being alleged is that, all these accusations are simply to gain an electoral advantage.
What is really disturbing is that, even in this age, where people are claiming themselves to be civilized and modern, we are facing such controversies which are repudiating the very democracy of the country. Ashoke Pandit, two time president of the Indian Films and TV Director’s Association (IFTDA) and social activist, commented on this controversy saying, “We all the members of the film industry, are sensible enough to portray our history and culture in a sensible way.” It is the basic right of every Indian citizen to express his thoughts freely. Is it right for any individual/organization to threaten someone else with so much authority? A better portrayal , would be to raise the voice after the release of the movie and to appreciate or criticize it in a civilized manner. If this trend continues, then a lot of movie makers, who are young and full of aspirations, will be disheartened and de-motivated and a lot of history will be left unsaid.
The majority of the population of our country, are interesting in movies, and this is a very suitable medium to make them aware of the famous poets, authors, kings and queens of our history. The directors are coming forward to take up such hardships, to dig up the history, to recruit suitable and powerful cast members in order to describe the movie in the best possible manner in order to enlighten the majority of the country about the history we do not know about. Some interest based groups , for their personal gains are conflicting and protesting against these movies in order to gain political advantages. If such groups are controlling the basic norms, as to what to eat, what to wear, what to watch? , then doesn’t it bring up the question, “Is the country still a Democracy?”. A simple question is, why are such hoodlums being allowed to control the interests of other people? Politicians and Activists who simply agitate the interests of other people should not be allowed to do so. Shows that were scheduled to be aired abroad are being delayed. The current situation we are in, is highly repudiating to the country, which simply means that we have a long way to go.
-Contributed by Atreyee Chakraborthy
Picture Credits: asianage.com