"I am 200% with the film and I stand by it as well as Sanjay Leela Bhansali."
As each day passes, the controversy surrounding Padmavati grows. Speculation has mounted over where and when it will release.
On 21st November, at an Adidas shop launch he said:
“I am 200% with the film and I stand by it as well as Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Given that it is very sensitive time right now, I have been specifically asked not to say anything.
“Whatever official communication with regards to the film needs to be made, you will receive it from the producers.”
Prior to this, Viacom18 released a statement which explained Padmavati‘s deferral. Beforehand, the film had a scheduled release date of 1st December 2017.
The statement read: “We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film. We will announce the revised release date of the film in due course. [sic]”
In addition, they ceased its promotions. Director Sanjay Leela Bhalsi had requested the Central Board of Certification (CBFC) to push forward with its decision on its certification.
However, CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi argued the board needed time to consider the movie. A source added:
“In CBFC, 68 days is the maximum time (to certify a film), it can be less also. We normally do it in a month or over a month’s time (certification). With a film like this, you need to be careful, take opinions, so it takes a little bit of time.”
With many from the Bollywood film fraternity supporting the film, director and actress Deepika Padukone. Most are showing their support personally to the makers. However, some have taken to posting videos on social media.
One example is that of Rakhi Sawant, a popular figure in Bollywood known for her outspoken attitude. She has stated in a video:
“Kisi ka baap vi Padmavati film ko rokh nahi sakhta release hone ke liay. Hum bi dekhte hai ke kaun rokh sakhta hai Padmavati film release hone ke liay”
Basically, saying no one’s ‘dad’ can even stop the release of Padmavati. Let’s see who has the ability to stop the release of the film.
But this time her words in support of the film have sparked a reaction too. With staunch figures from the Rajput community firmly retaliating against her with reply videos. Here is one example.
This reply includes references to Rakhi Sawant being a ‘whore’ in the industry and how dare she even get involved in this debate. There are others which are even worse. Including attacks on Bansali’s parents for even producing a low-life son like him and swords being shown on debate shows, ready for Deepika and Bansali.
They are rallying the support of not just the Rajput community but now for all Hindus to join in the protest against the release of Padmavati. In places like Indore and Delhi, videos have been shared by activists where they are saying any promotions for the film will be firmly dealt with.
Meanwhile, several chief ministers gave divided opinions on whether they would allow the film in their states. For example, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani said he would block the film when it releases and added: “We can’t allow our history to be distorted.”
The Government of Gujarat will not allow #Padmavati – a movie hurting sentiments of Rajputs – to get released in the State. We can’t allow our history to be distorted. We believe in freedom of speech & expression but any foul play with our great culture is not tolerated.
— Vijay Rupani (@vijayrupanibjp) November 22, 2017
Three other chief ministers also plan to block Padmavati‘s release; Vasundhara Raje, Yogi Adityanath and Shivaraj Singh Chaudan. All ministers hail from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) run states. BJP’s leader, Surajpal Singh Amu had previously placed a Rs 10 crore (approx. £1.2 million) bounty on Deepika and Sanjay.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar revealed he would wait for the CBFC’s certification. Offering a different perspective, he said:
“We will take a decision on Padmavati only after censor board clearance. We will not allow anyone’s sentiments to be hurt. We don’t think it is right to ban (a film) before censor board’s decision.”
It appears then, the controversy will continue to develop in India. Especially when the CBFC make their decision and if the historical drama does indeed release.
With chief ministers conflicting on whether or not they will block Padmavati, the movie is definitely in trouble. And with the Rajput community vehemently increasing their protest against the film, the release of the Padmavati maybe not happening as initially expected by fans.