Sanjay Leela Bhansali, time to stop making films in India. We are too sensitive

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has suspended the shooting of Padmavati in Jaipur. Rajput Karni Sena openly threatens the filmmaker on live television

On live television, Rajput Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi openly threatened filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Kalvi made it clear that unless his group gets a written assurance from Bhansali about deleting certain scenes from his film Padmavati, he will not allow the shooting to continue. The filmmaker, who has directed some of the most acclaimed films of our times including Devdas and Black, has left Jaipur for Mumbai.  Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje has not yet uttered a single word against the incident.

Activists from Rajput Karni Sena barged into the sets of Padmavati yesterday to beat the filmmaker. And today they had the audacity to justify their actions. And that too in front of national television cameras!  Their excuse is simple. Bhansali is distorting Rajput history. Like I wrote yesterday, the issue here is not about Bhansali distorting the history. The issue is how things work in India. We are not a banana republic! Or at least that’s what we claim to the outsiders. Can anyone just get up and barge into your house just because they don’t agree with your ideology? What is the role of the state in such a situation? Latest media reports suggest the police has detained five people. But Bhansali has suspended his shoot.

Talking to journalists in Jaipur reveal that Rajput Karni Sena is a ‘fringe of fringe’ group. “Honestly, they have no standing within the Rajput community,” a reporter told me. “Of course, this incident might help them to grow in stature.”

Since yesterday’s incident, no one from the elite Rajput community has come forward and condemned the incident. “There is a silent support for Karni Sena,” he added. “Rajputs are very passionate about their history.” Most of Rajput still believe films like Jodha-Akbar distorted history. They believe that Padmvati would do the same. “Jodha-Akbar was never released in Rajasthan,” he adds.

While we can agree with the fact that any Rajput group has a right to protest, no violent method can be condoned.  If filmmakers are distorting their history, Rajput groups – fringe or mainstream – have to find a way which is much more within the realm of Indian Constitution. If every private group start resorting to their own method, outside the law, we will be soon heading towards utter chaos. And where do we stop? or even start?

We are a country of billion hyper-sensitive human beings. We are an emotional lot. We are emotional about our history. We are emotional about our sex lives. We are emotional about Gods. We are emotional about our ‘image’. Let the government now vet every film script! (and drop the freedom of express from the constitution) Though I’m not sure if the government is competent enough in front of groups like Karni Sena.

Meanwhile, Bollywood has come out in support of Bhansali. From Karan Johar to Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani to Farhan Akhtar, it seems for the first time the entire film industry has come together to stand up against such fringe groups. #IstandbySLB  is the hashtag of the hour.