Explained: Why Sanjay Leela Bhansali's ambitious film Padmavati is facing troubles before release

Though Deepika Padukone said that 'nothing and no one can stop the movie's release', the road to a smooth release is bumpy

What beholds in the coming weeks for Padmavati is still unclear. The movie’s protagonist Deepika Padukone may have said ‘nothing and no one can stop the movie’s release’, but it seems the road to a smooth release is bumpy. Almost every day, members of one or the other political outfit have voiced their opinion against the movie, threatening its director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and saying they would not allow the film’s release.

But what is the entire Padmavati controversy about? Why are few parties opposing the release of a film whose makers claim that ‘it will make every Indian proud’? Now that only a few weeks remain for the film’s scheduled release, here is all you need to know about the row.

Deepika Padukone in Padmavati, Padmavati | Photo created for InUth.com

Deepika Padukone in Padmavati

Fact vs fiction: 

Whether Queen Padmini existed or not is another debatable topic. The movie finds its roots in Padmavat, a poem written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi in the Awadhi language. Historians have said this was pure work of fiction, emphasising that though the siege of Chittor fort did happen, there was no Queen Padmini. Jayasi wrote the poem 200 years after the actual siege happened and was subsequently picked by other chroniclers – the most prominent one being Abul Fazl. However, there are some who believe Padmavati was real. Krishna Gopal Sharma, professor of history at Rajasthan University, told a daily,

It is a well-documented fact that Padmini was the 15th wife of Rawal Ratan Singh, who has been described as Madam Kunwar Padmini and there’s no doubt about the fact she was a real historical figure.

The vandalising of sets: 

In January this year, members of fringe-group Rajput Karni Sena vandalised the sets in Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur, and also manhandled Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The members of the group said they learned SLB was distorting historical facts by showing a dream sequence between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh). They said by doing so, SLB was disrespecting their culture.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali

The clarification by team Padmavati: 

Post this incident, which was condemned by almost everybody in Bollywood, makers of Padmavati released a statement to clarify there was no such intimate sequence between Khilji and Padmavati.

A source close to Bhansali said,

We’ve been going hoarse saying there is absolutely no dream sequence featuring Deepika and Ranveer. They haven’t shot together in ‘Padmavati’ for a single day. We don’t know who started this rumour of the two being together.

Opening up about the controversy, Sanjay Leela Bhansali recently said,

There is no interaction whatsoever between the characters played by Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh.

Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji, inuth.com

Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji

Kolhapur sets vandalised:

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s nightmares followed him when he decided to shift the shoot from Rajasthan to Maharashtra. The set he made in Kolhapur’s Masai plateau was set ablaze during a night in March. Reportedly, around 20-30 people who were armed with petrol bombs, stones and lathis, put the set on fire. They also burnt fodder meant for animals and also few costumes.

The destroyed Rangoli: 

An artist worked for 48 hours to make a rangoli inspired by Deepika Padukone’s look in Padmavati. But the artwork of the Surat-based artist was destroyed in a few seconds by goons. He narrated his ordeal on Twitter and Deepika Padukone fumed with anger. Tagging I&B minister Smriti Irani, Padukone demanded a quick action against the goons. A few days later, five were arrested in the case.

Padmavati Rangoli

The statements: 

What has made it impossible for the controversy to die down is the frequent statements made by members of political parties. Have a look at what everyone has said about it:

Narayan Divrala, District President of Karni Sena:

We have learnt that the filmmakers are portraying the film as a love story between Alauddin Khilji and Padmini, which is a blatant distortion of history. That is why we stopped the shooting and told the makers that we won’t let them continue unless they make changes.

Chintamani Malviya, BJP MP of Ujjain:

People like Bhansali do not understand any other language. People like him only understand the language of shoes. This country will not disrespect Rani Padmavati. We will not tolerate any distortion of our history.

Shahid Kapoor in Padmavati, Padmavati trailer | Photp created for InUth.com

Shahid Kapoor in Padmavati

Raja Singh, BJP MLA from Goshamahal constituency:

You (film director) show what the fact is. But, if you add masala for money and show differently, how can we keep quiet.

Film distributor in Rajasthan:

Karni Sena and other Rajput community leaders are protesting against the film over alleged distortion of historical facts. We are also against the distortion of historical facts and will purchase the distribution rights only after the controversy is settled.

Shankersinh Vaghela, Former Gujarat CM:

If the movie is released without pre-screening, Gujarat will witness violent protests and law and order may go out of control. I apologise to the cinema owners in advance if people take law into their hands.

Diya Kumari, BJP MLA and former Rajasthani princess:

The director of the film Padmavati, Sanjay Leela Bhansali should not wrongly depict the story of Queen Padmavati of Chittor. He should get the facts in the film verified by a forum of historians and then release the film.

Padmavati is slated to release on December 1.