Death threats, bans, fiction and artistic freedom : The Padmavati Controversy

Mohammad Kanchwala
New Update
Padmavati controversy

It has been decades since Albert Einstein passed away, and yet his words hold weight until this very day. The words I reference are, ‘Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity..’ and well folks back here Indians are working hard to prove him right with the whole Padmavati controversy.

So, unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you might happen to know that as part of the entire fiasco known as the Padmavati controversy, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and Deepika Padukone, the director and actress respectively have some 15 Crore INR worth of bounty on their head and nose respectively.

Yes that was announced publicly.

Yes, India still, on paper, claims to be a secular democracy with courts of law and representatives of the law.

Yes the people who declared this bounty are still roaming free.

Here’s how the unfortunate incident has snowballed into a national contest for bigotry, lampoonery, violence and numerous threats of it, and pretty much everything that should not be happening in a democratic nation, has happened.

Padmavati controversy Source : Hindustan Times

Source : NDTV

Let us begin with the very beginning of this fiasco wherein the Karni Sena from Rajasthan first issued an ultimatum, then proceeded to storm and vandalize Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s sets. They also manhandled the acclaimed director, claiming to know of a leaked script of the movie that includes a dream sequence wherein the characters of Allaudin Khilji, and Rani Padmini have been depicted romancing each other.

No proof was provided about the validity of these rumours and a few weeks ago, the director of the film, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, himself sat in front of the camera, reassuring every concerned indvidual that there are no such dream love sequences and these reports and rumours are false.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali categorically denied having distorted any historical facts, and even stated that he respects and admires the supreme sacrifice of Rani Padmini.

Things seemed pretty chill thereafter until..

Fast forward to a few days back when Abhishek Som, a somebody somebody announced on video that if Sanjay Leela Bhansali does not cancel the release of Padmavati, a bounty of 5Crore INR will be placed on his head. Whoever brings him Bhansali’s head, will be rewarded with the money.

Yeah the video was aired on Television and shared on social media. He is still roaming free.

Sooooo… Some old nutjob named Suraj Pal Amu went ahead and doubled the previous bounty offered by the other buffoon, also chipping in his original two cents, threatening to break Ranveer Singh’s legs, who plays the invading ‘foreign’ king, Allauddin Khilji. He reportedly said, “Want to congratulate Meerut youth for announcing Rs 5 crore bounty for beheading Deepika, Bhansali. We will reward the ones beheading them, with Rs 10 crore, and also take care of their family's needs."

I guess the country of Israel and all Jewish people should issue ultimatums and death threats to every actor who has played Adolf Hitler in any film, or television show in the past. That’s how much sense this entire fiasco makes to me! How is an actor or actress under fire for portraying a character? Do we imprison and hang any actor that has played a terrorist in films?

Okay so then, after a brief few days of inaction by the goverment and law enforcement agencies, and no tweets or official statements either by the Prime Minister or any relevant person, a case was registered against Suraj Pal Amu.

The CBFC then very conveniently decided to send the film back to their makers, citing ‘incomplete paperwork’ as the cause, and thus the release of the film has now been thrown into question with 1 December inching closer.

Numerous Twitter users have spoken against this behaviour, and the government merely watching the proceedings as the filmmakers and actors are bullied. Meanwhile, the film fraternity were busier harassing poor Ed Sheeran instead of standing up for their counterparts.

Although sanity and logic seldom have the last laugh in our country these days. Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, the three leading stars of the film mired in controversy have spoken about the issue on separate occasions.

Here is what they had to say,

Shahid Kapoor

Ranveer Singh

None of it mattered as vote banks and communal politics are rather more interesting and lucrative for our politicians as they proceeded to proclaim a ban on the film, as Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab supported the protestors. Barring Punjab CM, all other Chief Ministers have proclaimed that the film won’t be released in their states.

Guajarat CM Vijay Rupani

Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar

Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan

One can’t even blame them because threats of violence and vandalism are rife, and when another CM is openly issuing statements saying Bhansali and Deepika Padukone deserve punishment.

What a disgrace.

I mean look at these fools, risking severe burns just to light a damn dummy on fire and express their thoughts about a movie that they haven’t even watched yet, about a figure that pretty much every historian claims never existed!

The release date for Padmavati has finally been postponed and there is no end to the Padmavati controversy in sight.

What are your thoughts about the entire fiasco? Tell us in the comments section!

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