The severe protests around the film had taken not only SLB but also his stars by surprise.
The much-beleaguered Padmaavat has finally found relief — over a week after it finally released. The Karni Sena, which had been at the forefront of protests against the film, and attempting to block its release, has finally withdrawn its year-long protest.
According to reports, Rajput Karni Sena’s Mumbai leader Yogendra Singh Katar admitted that after a few of the fringe group’s members watched the movie, they found nothing objectionable in the content.
Initially, the Karni Sena had objected to the release of the movie, as it believed that it “distorted” history. Now, its has announced that there, indeed, aren’t any objectionable scenes between Allaudin Khilji and Padmavati in the movie, which was their initial grouse with the film.
In fact, the members of the group stated that the movie speaks positively about the Rajputs and glorifies their valour and sacrifice. He added that every Rajput “would feel proud” after watching it.
The Karni Sena will now also be helping the film get a release in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, after fringe elements blocked Padmaavat’s release in these states. This, despite the Supreme Court’s orders that the movie can-not be banned in any state.
Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is understandably circumspect on the issue. “I never understood what the protests were all about in the first place. I still don’t understand. I’m just happy that the film has been released and appreciated widely. Of course, we’d like our film to release in states where it hasn’t been so far. Isn’t that the least we can expect, after all we’ve gone through?” he asks.
The severe protests around the film had taken not only SLB but also his stars by surprise. “We were all surprised by the turn of events,” Shahid Kapoor had said, clearly frustrated by the delay in the movie’s release. “Things aren’t extremely bad, but it’s very strange that people are choosing to decide what’s in the film, without watching it; it’s very weird. I have been saying all along that you need to watch the film before forming an opinion. Why do you have so many pre-conceived notions about the film without knowing the facts of its content?”
The actor had also slammed the Karni Sena for threatening Deepika Padukone with physical harm. “It’s in terrible taste. I’m surprised there are such things being said about a lady; I’m shocked,” he had said.
But while Bhansali will say no more, a team member from the film wonders why the Karni Sena has suddenly decided to calm down. “It’s all bizarre,” sighs the source, on the condition of anonymity. “The flare-up, the film industry’s silence, the way Padmaavat was hounded, and now this sudden calming of nerves after the film is released, and the bogus Rajput protests that have been discredited completely.”
Whatever the case may be, the team of Padmaavat would be heaving a sigh of relief with the long battle with the Karni Sena coming to an end. The fact that it has a release in the remaining states of India to look forward to only makes the deal sweeter.
A violent trail
In January 2017, members of the Karni Sena roughed up Bhansali on the sets of the movie in Jaipur, Rajasthan. After the sets were moved out, vandalism was reported in Kolhapur.
Abhishek Som, a Meerut-based man, offered `5 crore to anyone who
beheaded the director and Deepika. This followed news of a Karni Sena
member threatening to chop off Deepika’s nose for “violating Indian culture”.
The Karni Sena also threatened a nationwide bandh in November 2017, over the movie’s release.
After theatres went ahead with listing shows of Padmaavat, with the
backing of the Supreme Court, there was a fresh wave of violence in January this year. More than 150 vehicles were damaged, when mobs went on a
rampage in Ahmedabad, attacking three theatres inside malls and another
complex. Section 144 (Unlawful Assembly) was also enforced in Gurgaon,
over the release.
— With inputs from Subhash K. Jha and Sanskriti Media