The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed notifications passed by the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat that tried to ban the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat in those states.
Bhansali’s magnum opus, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, is based on Malik Mohammed Jayasi’s 16th century poem Padmavat, which provides a fictional account of Alauddin Khilji’s siege of Chittor, driven by lust for Rajput Queen Padmavati. The movie is set to release on January 25, after running into multiple hurdles following protests from Right-Wing groups, who claim the movie distorts history and hurts the sentiments of the Rajput community.
After relentless protests, attacks on movie sets and death threats by the Rajput Karni Sena and other fringe groups, the Central Board of Film Certification had appointed a panel of historians to review the film. The movie was finally cleared with a few changes and on the condition that filmmakers would change the title from Padmavati to Padmavat. It was finally rechristened Padmaavat.
The Thursday ruling in favour of the filmmakers was largely greeted enthusiastically by Twitter users.
The Supreme Court, in its interim order, said that it was the duty of states to maintain law and order during the screening of the film. But some Twitter users expressed concerns about who would be held responsible if violence were to break out when Padmaavat hits the theatres.
Reactions to the Supreme Court ruling varied across the political spectrum. Opposition members welcomed the move, but some Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who spoke to the media expressed their disappointment. The party’s Haryana leader Suraj Pal Amu, who had announced a Rs 10-crore reward for the beheading of Padmaavat actor Deepika Padukone and Bhansali, and later resigned from the post of party’s Haryana Chief Media Coordinator, said the country would be “torn apart” if the film releases.
The Rajput Karni Sena, meanwhile, insisted its efforts to thwart the film’s release would continue. Violence was reported in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, where members of the outfit allegedly vandalised a cinema hall.
Members of the film industry also lauded the Supreme Court’s decision.