Artistic Freedom

No dream sequence in ‘Padmavati’, says Sanjay Leela Bhansali; Jaipur shoot cancelled

‘We are confident that Mewar will be proud of the film made on their revered queen,’ said the director in a statement.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has denied that his upcoming film Padmavati has a dream sequence between the characters Padmavati and Allauddin Khilji and assured detractors that his version of the Rajasthani legend will “not hurt any sentiments”. The filmmaker was assaulted by members of the Rajput Karni Sena while shooting portions of the film in Jaipur on Friday. The organisation’s founder, Lokendra Singh Kalvi, defended the attack, saying that “We can forget the incident, but we won’t forget history”.

The Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, M Venkaiah Naidu, described the incident as “highly objectionable, and said that he has spoken to Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Scindia and asked her to take “necessary action” . The Jaipur shoot has been cancelled, and the crew has returned to Mumbai.

Bhansali, who was awarded a Padma Shri in 2015, issued the following statement through his publicity representative: “Sanjay Leela Bhansali has shot two films in Jaipur and despite his love for Rajasthan, for the safety of his crew, we have decided to stop the shoot and leave the city post the shocking incident where miscreants damaged property and misbehaved with the crew on the shoot of Padmavati. SLB had directed the opera Padmavati to packed houses in Paris and earned worldwide praise for it.” It added that they “carefully researched” the film and that the attack was “uncalled for” and damaged the beautiful city of Jaipur.

“We are grateful to the authorities at Jaipur who responded promptly and limited the damage on shoot. We are confident that Mewar will be proud of the film made on their revered queen. We do not want to hurt any sentiments and would appreciate if the local people support us in making this film and making their queen revered by the world.”

The influential Film & Television Producers Guild of India strongly condemned the attack, as did Padmadavati’s producer, Viacom18 Motion Pictures. COO Ajit Andhare said, “The incident that took place yesterday on the sets of Padmavati is shocking; Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a veteran with an acclaimed body of work. We stand by him and our film which is a celebration of the Rani and what she represented. We truly don’t wish to hurt the sentiments of any person or community. We didn’t expect this.”

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