West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday extended support to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati, calling the controversy around the film an attempt to destroy freedom of expression in the country. Her statement comes hours after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed his support for the groups opposed to Padmavati’s release, saying no one should be allowed to distort history.
Padmavati, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, has been in the midst of a controversy since January, with Rajput groups and others accusing Bhansali of distorting history.
“The Padmavati controversy is not only unfortunate but also a calculated plan of a political party to destroy the freedom to express ourselves,” Banerjee said on Twitter. “We condemn this super emergency. All in the film industry must come together and protest in one voice.”
On Sunday, Viacom18 Motion Pictures – the co-producers of Padmavati – said they had decided to “voluntarily defer” the film’s release. The movie was scheduled to be out on December 1.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere in the controversy surrounding Padmavati, Bar and Bench reported. Lawyer ML Sharma had moved the court, asking for “objectionable scenes” in the movie to be deleted before its release. “We cannot interfere with the Central Board of Film Certification’s work,” the Supreme Court said. “Can the court injunct a statutory body from exercising its function?”
Earlier on Monday, the censor board had turned down an application by the makers of Padmavati to speed up the certification process for the movie. The CBFC said the movie will be reviewed and certified as per the norms of the board – in chronological order of the films submitted for certification.
The National Commission for Women on Monday summoned the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief media coordinator for Haryana, Suraj Pal Amu, a day after he announced a Rs 10-crore reward for anyone who beheads Padukone and Bhansali.
“The commission takes a stringent view of such unwarranted and illegal statement made by Suraj Pal Amu,” it said. “NCW has written to the director general of police, Haryana, today, requesting him to look into the matter immediately and take appropriate action in accordance with the law.”
Moreover, a divisional court in Pune has issued show cause notices to Bhansali and six actors of Padmavati, asking them to appear in court on November 21, Pune Mirror reported on Monday. The plea filed by advocates Sudip Kenjalkar and Smita Padole sought to stop the release of the film temporarily, alleging that Rani Padmavati was shown dancing in public without her veil.
In January, members of the Rajput Karni Sena had assaulted Bhansali on the set of the movie in Jaipur. Several outfits have protested against the movie, which is about Rajput queen Rani Padmini, also known as Padmavati.