Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical saga Padmavati is embroiled in controversy even before its national release on December 1 and International release on November 30. The controversy came in the form of a Rajput outfit and political parties in Rajasthan who claim that the film may have distorted historical facts and should be banned.
The controversy came about when the Rajput Karni Sena heard a vague rumour that there may be a dream sequence between Alauddin Khilji enacted by Ranveer Singh and Rani Padmini portrayed by Deepika Padukone. The political organisation then went on a rampage attacking Bhansali, vandalising the sets and disrupting shooting.
Rajasthan Ujjain MP Chintamani Malviya took to his Facebook to post derogatory comments about the director and his family and asked the Rajasthan people to boycott the film as it distorts Rani Padmini’s sacrifice of Jauhar or self-immolation instead of surrendering to Alauddin Khilji.
Rajput Karni Sena demanded the film to be screened for historians and intellectuals prior to its release as promised by Bhansali earlier. Rajasthan film distributors are hesitant to buy the film rights in view of the impending controversy. The film may incur Rs 5 crore loss as Rajasthan alone has more than 300 screens.
The controversy also reached Telangana with Hyderabad Goshamahal assembly constituency BJP MLA T Raja Singh warning Bhansali that the film will not be allowed to screen in Hyderabad if he distorts historical facts. Addressing a meeting of Rajasthan Rajput Samaj in Secunderabad on Sunday, he threatened to burn down any theatre in Telangana which screened Padmavati if the film is against history.
Controversy before a film may be a boon to the filmmakers as it gives their film free publicity and promotion. The recent Diwali release of Tamil film Mersal faced controversy as BJP leaders slammed it for its comments on GST and doctors. The film continued to be a blockbuster hit.
Padmavati stars Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Aditi Rao Hydari and Jim Sarbh in the lead roles.