Protesters in Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal have declared a Rs 50 lakh bounty on Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone, a news agency reported.
After members of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena threatened to behead Padmavati producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali and cut off Deepika Padukone’s nose, a new threat has emerged from Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal. That’s where protesters from an unknown group declared a bounty of Rs 50 lakh on Bhansali and Padukone today.
The new threat seems to have been made by random individuals unaffiliated with any organisation, and has the appearance of a publicity stunt.
Protests, threats, insults and actual physical attacks have been legion in the run-up to the scheduled release date – December 1 – and the Shri Rajput Karni Sena has often been involved. These incidents raise important questions: Has the Rajasthan government abdicated its responsibility to take action? Does the BJP’s silence make it complict? Why such anger against two film industry professionals?
Padmavati’s main characters include the Rajput queen Rani Padmini (Deepika Padukone) and Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh). Opponents of the film say or suspect that it distorts history, and there has been speculation that it contains a dream sequence featuring the queen and the invader. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has denied this – twice.
When Deepika Padukone recently suggested that the controversy over Padmavati showed India had regressed as a nation, the leader of a Rajput organisation’s state unit threatened to chop off her nose. He threw in an allusion to Shurpanakha while making the threat.
Just take a look at what the makers of Padmavati have had to put up with in recent months.
RS 5 CRORE REWARD FOR BEHEADING SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI
A member of the Rajput organisation Karni Sena announced – on television – a reward of Rs 5 crore for anyone who would behead Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Officials say the Maharashtra government has provided Bhansali, who lives in Mumbai, with precautionary security cover.
‘SHURPANAKHA’: KARNI SENA THREATENS TO CUT OFF DEEPIKA PADUKONE’S NOSE
Earlier this week, the Karni Sena’s Rajasthan President Mahipal Singh Makrana said his outfit wouldn’t hesitate to cut off Deepika Padukone’s nose. While making the threat, he alluded to Shurpanakha, the Ramayan character whose nose Lakshman chops off.
The Mumbai Police has reportedly given Padukone special security.
BHANSALI ROUGHED UP ON SET; RANI PADMINI’S PALACE ATTACKED
Karni Sena members manhandled Sanjay Leela Bhansali and tore his clothes on the sets of Padmavati in January. Onlookers said they slapped the veteran director (A Rajput leader would confirm this months later, while making a second threat: “He was slapped last time, but this time, he will be beaten with shoes”). They also vandalised the set, and destroyed expensive film equipment.
In fact, the crew’s security team reportedly fired in the air to stop them from doing more. Bhansali was forced to abandon the shoot, and return to Mumbai.
In March, the Karni Sena vandalised the palace of Rani Padmini in Chittorgarh. Its members smashed mirrors in the Padmini Mahal, where Alauddin Khilji supposedly saw the queen’s reflection.
At the time, Mahipal Singh Makrana told the Hindustan Times: “We had asked the administration to remove the mirrors as it distorts history by wrongly showing that Alauddin Khilji had watched the reflection of Rani Padmavati in them. The administration failed to take any action and that’s why we had to take matters into our hand(s).”
Earlier this week, Karni Sena convenor Lokendra Singh Kalvi told India Today that it was “naachnewali” Deepika Padukone who was causing India to ‘regress.’ It was a reponse to Padukone’s own remark on the row over Padmavati.
“The country is not regressing, you are making it so. With folded hands, I beg Deepika not to insult women…Deepika is dancing in the film. Yes, dance, but why are you dancing with less clothing? How are you trying to portray Indian women?” he asked.
Kalvi also threatened Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s family.
“My question is, why name this film Padmavati? Go and name it Leela Ek Gujarati. We will not spare the family of Bhansali because he has insulted our mother Padmavati,” he said.
The Karni Sena burned Padmavati posters in front of Jaipur’s Rajmandir Cinema Hall on September 23. A district leader from the outfit said at the time that Karni Sena wouldn’t allow the film to open in theatres unless it was approved by the Karni Sena’s members and by historians.
Five people, including four Karni Sena members and one from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, were arrested on October 20 for allegedly vandalising a Padmavati-inspired rangoli in Gujarat’s Surat. The attack on the artist, Karan, was “disgusting,” “appalling,” and “absolutely heart-breaking,” Deepika Padukone said in a tweet.