Padmavathi film has been mired in controversy over surmise that it “distorts history” regarding Rajput queen Padmini, a charge that Bhansali has repeatedly denied.
The makers of Padmavati have put off the release of the film after a wave of protests from multiple Hindu groups and dire threats to lead actors Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind the period drama, said, “We will announce the revised release date of the film in due course".
The announcement by the producers deferring the film’s release came a day after Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje urged Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani to ensure the movie is not released without necessary changes so that it does not hurt the sentiments of any community.
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Incidentally, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prasoon Joshi had slammed the makers of the film on Saturday for allowing the film to be screened for some 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”.
The Film studio said in a statement it had the highest respect and regard for the law of the land and all institutions and statutory bodies, including the CBFC. “We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film,” the statement added.
On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya joined the anti-Padmavati chorus and said, “The state government has made it clear that the movie will be allowed to be screened in Uttar Pradesh only if objectionable parts are removed”.
Three days ago, the UP state government had written to the Union information and broadcasting ministry, expressing apprehension that the release of the film on December 1 could lead to serious “law and order problems” in the state.
The studio said the film was a cinematic masterpiece capturing “Rajput valour, 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,” it added.
The film’s star, Padukone, said in an interview on Saturday: “As a woman, as an artiste, as someone who has worked and given two years of my life to this movie, I feel hurt, I feel angry…”
The Shri Rajput Karni Sena, which has been spearheading protests against the film, deferred its Bharat Bandh, scheduled for December 1, hours after the studio put off the release.
The organisation would “meet them in the field” whenever the film is released, said Karni Sena patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi in Jaipur. He called Bhansali a “cultural goon”, “trickster” and “regular offender” and said the movie’s release being put off was a part of his continued “drama”.