A fringe Rajasthan group called the Karni Sena has escalated its protests against director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati, threatening actor Deepika Padukone with physical harm and calling for a bandh across the country on December 1, the day the film is scheduled to release.
“Rajputs never raise a hand on women but if need be, we will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha,” said a leader of the group in a video released today, referring to the act of cutting the nose off. Another member of the Sena said, “We will gather in lakhs, our ancestors wrote history with blood we will not let anyone blacken it. We will call for a Bharat bandh on December 1.”
Padmavati is based on the legend of Rani Padmini of Chittor and critics, mostly Rajput groups, say the film wrongly implies a romantic relationship between the queen and Emperor Alauddin Khilji. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has repeatedly denied the allegations and even released a video clarifying that his film does not distort history.
“If we are talking about the respect of #Padmavati, then it is our moral obligation that we respect every woman. Disrespecting an actor is uncalled for and immoral,” union minister Uma Bharti has tweeted.
But Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of Uma Bharti’s party the BJP is yet to comment on the threats of the Karni Sena, which has also, in an open challenge to the state government, said that if Padmavati is not banned by November 17, it will stop tourists from entering the historical Chittorgarh Fort, where Rani Padmini is said to have lived in the 14th century.
Earlier this week, its members went on the rampage in Kota destroying shops and vandalising the ticket window of a cinema hall that was screening a trailer of the film.