The ‘Padmavati’ row gets murkier by the day with fringe right-wing groups like Karni Sena and even the BJP offering bounty for the heads of actor Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
In fact, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has now deferred the release of Padmavati. Saying that the studio would soon announce the new release date for the film, a spokesman from Bhansali’s camp said it has the highest regard for the law of the land and statutory bodies such as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshi had on Saturday slammed the filmmakers for allowing the film to be screened for various 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 Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS) says that it has deferred its protest date too. But the threats to Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali still stands.
Reports claim that Mahipal Singh Makrana, president of Rajasthan unit of the outfit went to say that they would not think twice before chopping off Deepika's nose. Sri Rajput Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi called Deepika Padukone 'Naachnewali' after she commented that the country is becoming regressive.
Contrary to Kalvi’s statements, an office bearer from Haryana’s BJP unit said he would double the bounty on the heads of actor Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, to Rs. 10 crore. Earlier, a Meerut-based Thakur leader, Thakur Abhishek Som, national president of Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Yuva Mahasabha, had offered Rs 5 crore to anyone who brings the head of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone.
This is a new low in the controversial case where members of the ruling party are seen issuing threats to artists.
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal lashed out at the protestors saying, "I am sorry I can't comment on Padmavati. I haven't seen it, have you? No one has seen it. Yet there are hordes of people objecting to its content. Does that make any sense? I can't understand how the protest has spread across the nation when hardly anyone has seen the film. What is the point in commenting over a film whose content has not been exposed to the public?"
Although security has been increased for all those involved with the film, the BJP is hardly doing anything to rein in the fringe elements making threats to them.
In fact, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has banned the film in his state.
Shyam Benegal has called this the government’s failure to act against those threatening and intimidating the film’s director and actors.
“Will people ask for heads publicly and offer money for the lives of those who disagree with them, and the state will do nothing to prevent it? The Home department and the police should move in immediately and offer protection. That would be the thing to do. When chief ministers and members of government adopt such an approach, what else will the administration do?” Benegal said.