The controversy over Bollywood film Padmavati took an ugly turn on Thursday with a senior functionary of the protesting Shri Rajput Karni Sena threatening actor Deepika Padukone with physical harm if she incited public sentiments.
Referring to the nose chopping of ‘Surpanakha’ in the epic Ramayana, Karni Sena leader Mahipal Singh Makrana said that while Kshatriyas respected women, if the film was not banned and Ms Padukone does not stop inciting sentiments with her provocative language, the Rajputs will not lag behind in acting.
“Rajputs would not lag behind in pursuing the way Lakshmana acted in the Ramayana,” he said hinting at the Surpanakha episode. In the light of this ‘threat’, the Mumbai police on Thursday beefed up the security of Ms Padukone.
The Karni Sena activist said that when a movie like Baahubali can earn crores showing the valour of ‘kshatriyas’, then why people want to cash-in on films presenting wrong facts.
Meanwhile, in Lucknow, Lokendra Singh Kalvi, the chief convener of the Rajput Karni Sena, has said that films like Padmavati were a form of cultural terrorism and has demanded a ban on its release.
In an exclusive interview to this newspaper here on Thursday, Mr Kalvi said that it had become a fashion to demean women and history through such films.
“We will not allow these cultural goondas to have their way,” he said. Mr Kalvi alleged that Padmavati had been funded by ‘Dawood in Dubai’ and said that this explains why and how the major portions of the film were shot during the period when the country was facing the impact of demonetisation.
When asked if there is still any room for an understanding on the issue, Mr Kalvi said, “The time for negotiations is over. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a habitual offender when it comes to misrepresenting facts. He did it in Bajirao Mastani also. He did not speak to even a single member of the royal family in Rajasthan when he started the film. I am the 37th descendent of Rani Padmini. Do I not have the right to defend the honour of my ancestors?” he asked.
Ajmer Dargah opposes film
Ajmer Dargah Deewan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan on Thursday joined the chorus of voices against upcoming film Padmavati and urged PM Narendra Modi to ban the film, saying it hurt religious sentiments.
Comparing the film’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, with controversial writers Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen and Tareq Fatah, the spiritual leader said Muslims should oppose the film.