Padmaavat controversy: Over 35 Karni Sena supporters detained in Mumbai; theatres in Gujarat refuse to screen film

FP Staff

Jan,24 2018 12:50:18 IST

Ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversial magnum opus Padmaavat, violent protests and vandalism have been reported in certain areas. Even after the Supreme Court of India's strict orders to screen the film without any opposition, these protests have continued (although state-imposed bans have been rolled back).

In a latest development, Gujarat theatre owners have refused to screen the film, as fear of vandalism and threats engulfs the state. TV reports from CNN-News 18 claims that Karni Sena stands by their demands and wants certain scenes to be deleted from the film.

Meanwhile, over 35 supporters of Karni Sena, protesting against Padmaavat have been detained in Mumbai, claims a Mumbai Police official, according to PTI.

According to news reports, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India will hear a plea on Monday (29 January) asking for deletion of scenes from the film.

This fresh petition has been filed by advocate ML Sharma who had previously filed two pleas against the film. The apex court had rejected the pleas earlier citing that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was still to review the film and passing a judgement on the film's content before the certification process would mean preempting the censor board's verdict.

In fact, the SC had given the advocate the liberty to move the court once the CBFC announces its decision. Sharma has now reiterated his plea for removal of certain scenes in the film and has approached the apex court. In other news, the chances of Padmaavat being released in Bihar now seem uncertain.

Owing to the persistent threats and protests by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena and other fringe groups — who claim to be the torch bearers of Rajput pride — the cinema hall and multiplex owners are paranoid about releasing the film, according to a report by Jagran. While single-screen theatres have stepped back, the multiplex owners have said that the film may not release in the state.

The advance booking for Padmaavat tickets have come to a halt. Provinces like Kosi, Simanchal and East Bihar won't screen the film, reports stated. The Jagran report also claims that the police is taking stringent measures to ensure law and order in the state is maintained. DGP PK Thakur has given instructions to reinforce patrolling in volatile areas where chances of unrest are high.

Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Deepika Padukone in Padmaavat (left) and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali (right).

Meanwhile, A screening of Padmaavat will be held in the Rajasthan High Court after the controversial film's director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is seeking the quashing of an FIR against the movie, agreed to it. Bhansali's counsel, however, requested that adequate security measures should be put in place during screening of the film in the court.

Acting on the plea, Justice Sandeep Mehta directed the government to ensure adequate security measures for the screening. During the last hearing, the court had ordered for arranging a screening of the film before arriving at any conclusion on the allegations that the movie distorts historical facts. Bhansali's counsel Nishant Bora said that they were ready to arrange the screening of the film in the court. However, he expressed apprehension over the possibility of law and order disturbance. The court then directed the public prosecutor to arrange for adequate security.

The public prosecutor sought time to arrange for security. Mehta adjourned the hearing for the case till 2 February. The court will then decide the date for the screening of the film. The case pertains to an FIR filed by two persons named Virendra Singh and Nagpal Singh with Deedwana police in March last year, alleging that the film has distorted historical facts and hurt the image of queen Padmini.

Challenging the FIR, Bhansali had moved the court to get it quashed. The high court had then stayed the FIR, but had allowed the investigation in the matter to continue. The Supreme Court had earlier paved the way for the all-India release of Padmaavat on 25 January and stayed notifications and orders issued by Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat — all ruled by the BJP — prohibiting exhibition of the film in their states.

The apex court had also restrained other states from issuing any such notification or orders banning the screening of the movie. Security has also been heightened in Chittorgarh in Rajasthan ahead of Padmaavat's release. 

(With inputs from PTI)

Updated Date: Jan 24, 2018 14:10 PM