An advocate from Jaipur has filed a complaint against poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar after he said Rajput rulers never fought against the British, The Times of India reported on Wednesday.
Akhtar was speaking to a news channel in Lucknow about the row over the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati. “The Rajputs and Rajwadas never fought against the British and now they are taking to the streets against a film and a filmmaker,” Akhtar said. “All these ranas, rajas and maharajas of Rajasthan were serving in the courts of the British for 200 years. Where did their Rajput honour and valour go that time?” he had said.
Complainant Pratap Singh Shekhawat said Akhtar’s comments threatened the social harmony in the state.
The Rajput Karni Sena, the group that has been leading the protests against the film, said they will ensure Akhtar is “banned” from Rajasthan, NDTV reported. They said they have asked the police to file a case against him for “inciting communal enmity”. Mahipal Singh Makrana, Rajput Karni Sena’s state president, said if Akhtar “dares to enter Rajasthan, we will thrash him on the street”.
Makrana had earlier openly threatened to chop off actor Deepika Padukone’s nose for her role in the film. “Rajput Karni Sena is fighting to protect the image of women being portrayed in films,” Makrana had said, according to NDTV. “We never raise a hand on women but if need be, we will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha for violating the rules and culture of India.”
Controversy and threats
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.
In the past few weeks, Makrana’s has not been the only threat against those connected with the movie. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief media coordinator for Haryana, Suraj Pal Amu, announced a Rs 10-crore reward for anyone who beheads Padukone and Bhansali. After these threats, Viacom18 Motion Pictures – the co-producers of the film – said they had decided to “voluntarily defer” its release. The movie was scheduled to be out on December 1.
The Supreme Court has refused to interfere in the controversy. Lawyer ML Sharma moved the court asking for the “objectionable scenes” to be deleted, but the court said, “We cannot interfere with the Central Board of Film Certification’s work.”