The Central Board of Film Certification is likely to appoint a panel of historians to watch Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversy-ridden Padmavati, delaying its release to March next year, according to a report by IANS.

A source at the censor board told the news agency that the makers of the period drama, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, had “unnecessarily complicated” their case by stating in the application for certification that the film was partially based on historical facts.

The movie, which is set in the fourteenth century and explores Khilji’s fictional lust for Chittor queen Padmini, is unlikely to be certified before January. “We have not scheduled the film,” the source told IANS. “There are at least 40 feature films in different languages waiting in the queue.” Several examining officers are currently on vacation, adding to the backlog. “Even by conservative estimates, the film won’t be certified before the second week of January. I don’t think they can release the film before March or April. That is, provided the CBFC clears the film without any objection,” the source said.

All India Radio News reported that Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani said that certification of the film is under process in accordance with Cinematograph Act 1952 and Cinematograph (certification) rules 1983. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting asked the Ministry of Human Resource Development to compile a list of historians who could ascertain the historical accuracy of the film.

Padmavati is based on Malik Mohammed Jayasi’s sixteenth-century epic poem Padmavat, which details Khilji’s siege of Chittor. The film has attracted protests from Hindu right-wing organisations for allegedly “distorting history” and “hurting the sentiments” of people. The movie’s release was “voluntarily deferred” by producer Viacom 18 Pictures after Padukone and Bhansali received death threats. Padmavati was scheduled to be released on December 1.

The recent Gujarat elections were rumoured to have affected Padmavati’s prospects. Karnataka, which the Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to conquer next, will go to the polls in May.