Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati will not be released in the state until the director has clarified his stand on the controversy, The Indian Express reported. The film, 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.
“As people from several quarters have been raising questions on Padmavati, the director of the film should clarify his stand,” Kumar said, according to The Indian Express. “Till then, the film will not be shown in Bihar.” He further said that the filmmakers should not have shown Rani Padmini dancing.
However, an IANS report claimed that Kumar has already banned the film in Bihar on the request of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Neeraj Kumar Bablu.
Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij too jumped into the controversy on Tuesday. He told ANI, “I am astonished that in a democracy we need court’s permission to express ourselves.”
Kumar and Vij’s comments came on a day when the Supreme Court criticised those holding power or public offices who have commented about Padmavati while it is still pending before the Central Board of Film Certification.
The Supreme Court made the observations after ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have demanded that Padmavati be banned or not released until changes are made. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said that the state government will not take a decision until the censor board has given its decision. However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah have openly supported the film.
In the past few weeks, Padukone and Bhansali have received a number of threats. Mahipal Singh Makrana, Rajput Karni Sena’s state president, openly threatened to chop off Padukone’s nose for her role in the film. 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 Padmavati – said they had decided to “voluntarily defer” the film’s release. The movie was scheduled to be out on December 1.