Padmavat: Much Ado About Nothing

Controversy on Padmavat turned out to be baseless when the movie was finally released in India. All the fears expressed and allegations levelled by the Karni Sena proved erroneous. It reacted violently even before knowing anything about the movie and demanded a ban on it.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the famous Indian film director is well-known for his movies based on Indian history and mythology. He had made it clear that the film was based on a story written nearly two centuries after the reign of Allaudin Khilji.

Sara Sharma

The Karni Sena alleged that Bhansali’s film shows Rani Padmini in bad light. It also objected to the ghoomar song picturized in the film saying that “history was witness that none of the Rajput Maharanis has ever danced in front of anyone and the movie-makers cannot play with the history.”

A section of women of Rajasthan were upset with this film too because this film was made on a queen who was epitome of sacrifice. They added, “Rather than highlighting Padmini’s sacrifice, the film maker has sought to highlight the romantic angel in the movie” which is not true. They have claimed all these objections for the movie before they had even seen it. The real reason behind this protest by the Karni Sena against this movie originated from something else.

In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, the head of Karni Sena Lokendar Singh Kalvi said: “Responding to a question asked to actor Ranveer Singh whether he was playing the role of villain in the movie, the actor responded that he could go two notches beyond playing the role of villain if he is given two intimate scenes with the lead female character in the film.” Someone sent that clipping to Karni Sena in Rajasthan.

Leaders of Karni sena tried to contact the movie director and Ranveer Singh for the justification of that clip, but when there was no response they attacked them on the airport. But this protest took an ugly turn when Deepika Padukone, who plays Padmavati, was threatened with physical harm and a crew member was actually assaulted.

Karni Sena even tried to stop the shooting of the movie, burnt movie sets and threatened the actors but somehow under tight security they all were able to complete the movie. They presumed things and evidently overreacted to mere presumptions. Their acute mindset led to the destruction and unnecessary tension.

Nowhere in the movie, Rajputs were shown weaker. In fact they were shown as courageous and strong, prepared for any sacrifices to protect their honour and their culture. Nor did the film show any affair between Khilji and Padmavati, as was being presumed.

Padmavati is portrayed as a symbol of courage and bravery. Unfortunately the film remains banned even now in some of the states even after several cuts and editing. Yet wherever it has been released, it has proved a big success. That is not only in India but abroad as well. Organisations like the Karni Sena should not jump to conclusions and must take lessons from their experience this time.