Published On : Wed, Nov 15th, 2017

Padmavati Row : B-towns celebs support Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s cinematic vision

Padmavati, the upcoming film of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, has been surrounded by controversies since January 2017. Earlier this year, Sanjay Leela Bhansali was slapped by the workers of Rajput Karni Sena and even the sets of his film vandalised. The film is scheduled to release on December 1 but the ongoing protests by various political and religious groups that have surrounded the film forced the director to release a video saying that there will be no dream sequence between Khilji (played by Ranveer Singh) and Rani Padmini (Deepika Padukone).

Various Bollywood celebrities, including Salman Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Javed Akhtar, Sidharth Malhotra, Karan Johar and many others, have come forward in support on Bhansali’s Padmavati.

Salman Khan, who has worked with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Khamoshi: The Musical (1996) was completely supportive of the director who is known for his epic sagas. Salman said, “I believe that the censor board should take the decision. Sanjay makes very beautiful and nice films. His movies never have vulgar and disgusting content. Keeping in mind his past records one should get a sense that he cannot portray anyone in a bad light.”

Filmmaker Karan Johar, who faced a lot of backlash during the release of his 2016 film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil showed support for Bhansali by saying, “I have faced a lot of controversies before the release of a film. I feel bad for a filmmaker, who is one of the best in the country. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made a beautiful film and I hope he is protected by the people who understand that creativity is a form of expression. I think we should trust and believe him and give this film all the love.”

Actor and director Farhan Akhtar does not shy away from talking about controversial subjects and he too was quite vocal when it came to the ongoing Padmavati row. “I am totally against anything being banned. I genuinely believe that we should stop treating our audiences as children. It is important for the development of any nation that there are viewpoints, that are not always in agreement with the majority. We as a film industry are dependent on the CBFC to tell us what is okay and what is not okay. We have accepted that. Beyond that, it is up to the I&B ministry and the government to protect the films and filmmakers. It’s time for the film fraternity to come and stand together on these issues. We are a really small industry, so if we don’t come together then no one will do for us,” said Farhan.

Poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar said that films should not be treated like history classes. “Stories get created. Don’t misinterpret films for history and history for films. You watch cinema and enjoy it. If you are interested in history, then read it seriously,” said Javed Akhtar.

Actor Sidharth Malhotra who is still enjoying the success of his latest, Ittefaq, also supported Sanjay Leela Bhansali, “If you see the kind of movies Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made, they are respectful, artistic and have nothing offensive about them. So, I feel it is unfair that you comment on a film without watching it. Only censor board has that right (to comment on a film). As an industry, we are hoping the film gets a good release and people are able to watch the film and then decide.”

Actor Arjun Kapoor who will next be seen in Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, tweeted about the Padmavati row saying, “Yet again a man has to justify creativity because politics & propaganda creates an ugly environment. He’s a fantastic filmmaker his vision must be trusted. I’m sure Rani Padmavati & her story will be depicted with respect by him & @RanveerOfficial @deepikapadukone @shahidkapoor”

Actor Sushant Singh, who had stood up for Bhansali after his sets were vandalised earlier this year, also came out in support once again saying, “We are tired of fighting for freedom of speech.”

Veteran actor Vikram Gokhale questioned the democracy of our system by saying, ” Are we living in a democratic world? If there is no liberty, why should we make a film?”

Former CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani appealed that the protests against Padmavati must stop. “Bhansali is a sensible and best technician in the industry. He knows that he is bringing Indian culture in front of the world. He has always promoted Indian culture and people have liked it. There has been controversy in each of his films. Why did people not protest earlier when movies were made on Padmavati? Were the Rajputs not this concerned? These protests must stop,” he said.

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit condemened the attack on Bhansali by saying, “We are hurt because we have been abused and accused. We are filmmakers, creative people and we don’t deserve this kind of treatment. Every now and then we see our makers being heckled. Bhansali is a symbol and attack on him is not him it is an abuse of film fraternity. We condemn the attack on any person from the industry.”

Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra was very vocal that an attack on a filmmaker is an attack on freedom to make films. “CBFC can take a call on the film. The protestors haven’t even watched the film. Attack on Bhansali is an attack on freedom. This is very stifling. When it comes to the interpretation of history, you can disagree with him, but at least allow the film to release. By asking for a ban, you are creating an atmosphere where nobody will attempt films on Indian history,” he said.