On November 19, chief media coordinator of BJP’s Haryana unit Suraj Pal Amu jumped into the controversy over the film Padmavati by declaring he would double the bounty on the heads of its lead actor Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali to Rs 10 crore.
He claims he regularly rubs shoulders with the BJP top brass: in the mid-90s, he says, he drove Narendra Modi to meetings in Sohna; he was with Bangaru Laxman when “he turned pale” as the Tehelka scandal broke in 2001; he has worked with Uma Bharti and J P Nadda and, in 2000, went on an anti-terrorism yatra to Agra with now Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
“Shivraj Singh has sought a ban on the film…the notice that the BJP sent me is not a very serious one.” he added.
This is not the first time that Amu, who has a BA and a degree in law and is a member of the Bar Council of Punjab And Haryana, has been part of such a protest. In 2013-14, he says, he joined 15,000 Rajputs and ‘Hindu-wadi’ men at Jantar Mantar to protest against the TV serial Jodha Akbar. “We were lathi-charged and Rajnath Singh (now Home Minister) had come to meet the injured youth at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital,” says Amu, who hails from Sohna in Haryana. His ancestors, he says, are from Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
“I was speaking at an event to commemorate the 121st establishment day of the Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha of which I am a member. I had heard about the Rs 5 crore being offered by a man from Meerut and I simply asked the crowd if that should be doubled. They all cheered. We did not want to dishonour anybody,” he says, adding, “I am a light-hearted man, sad at all the politics”.
To a Quesion why he discuss a film he hasn’t watched? he said, "On November 14, he had gone to watch Golmaal Again at a multiplex, I got the most expensive tickets” when he first took issue with the film. “Padmavati’s trailer was shown in the interval… Raja Ratan Singh bakri jaise dikh rahe the (Padmavati’s husband Ratan Singh looked like a goat) and Alauddin Khilji rakshas jaise (like a monster). I and my friends walked up to the staff and asked them to remove the film’s poster. I tore it up, very gently,” he says, showing a video of the incident on his phone. But this “bada light aadmi” has called for the murder of Padukone and Bhansali. And burning down cinema halls. Ask him why and he ducks.
“(Deepika Padukone) desh ki beti hai, zidd par add gayi hai (She is the nation’s daughter, she is being obstinate),” he says. “She is one of my favourite actresses and I thoroughly enjoy her films…I liked her performance in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani where she is paired opposite Ranbir Kapoor”.
He added, “I once had a production house and was a part of the Western India Film Producers’ Association. I stayed in Mumbai for two years but no one wanted to support the films that I wanted to make.” What kind of films? “About India and its poor”.
Suraj Pal Amu talks about his family a son who has completed his MBA from London and is set to marry a young Jain woman, a daughter pursuing her studies in New Zealand, wife Balwinder, a Sikh, who he “fell in love with during his college days”.
It is important to note untill now bjp state governments in Uttarpradesh , Rajasthan and Madyapradesh haryana has not made any arrest on any Hindutva caste based outfits at their states that spread hate speeches violence and issued open threats.
It is important to note When BJP leader in haryana isn’t protecting Rajput pride, he is doing quite a few things. His visiting card says: working president, All India Yog Sport Association; president of Haryana Football Association; president, Haryana Gymnastics Association; president of Double Wicket cricket-federation of India; member, National Schools football/Cricket Promotion Council; member, District Grievances Committee; and member Telephone Advisory Committee (Ministry of Communication and IT Govt. of India”.
In the past 72 hours, Suraj Pal Amu has appeared on 16 news channels, given 27 hours of interviews, juggled between three incessantly buzzing cellphones one have to take his word on these numbers after all, an entire national discourse today hinges on his words as he proudly claims now.