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Mukesh Meena | HENB | Jaipur | Nov 4, 2017:: Bhansali’s Film ‘Padmavati’ again under Rajput Fire. Huge controversy over the portrayal of a 13th-14th century CE queen of Chittor in the film “Padmavati”, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, erupted again with the fort town of Chittorgarh observing a bandh to protest against the film’s scheduled release on December 1.
The bandh was called by the Jauhar Smriti Sansthan, a research and social group formed in 1950 with the aim of reviving pride in Mewar’s rulers.
The bandh call was circulated on social media a few days ago and received instant support from various groups, including the Karni Sena, a self-proclaimed body of Rajputs in Rajasthan. The Sansthan’s formal bandh announcement a day ago was obeyed by schools, colleges, markets and cinema halls. Rajput women even participated in large numbers in a protest march while holding placards that read “Respect Women”.
The march concluded at the Chittorgarh collectorate where effigies of Bhansali and other cast and crew of the film were burned on Friday. In fact, the bandh paralyzed the normal life of Chittorgarh.
“We are not against the movie as such. What we want is that Bhansali’s team should screen the movie for historians and intellectuals before releasing it as we are afraid and concerned that historical facts have been distorted in the movie,” Vishavbandhu Rathore, Pradesh Mahasachiv (Gen. Secy.) Sri Rajput Karni Sena, a Rajput community organisation, told HENB.
“We had called for Chittorgarh bandh on yesterday, and we got support from everyone. It was a complete bandh in Chittorgarh Friday,” said Mahipal Singh Makrana, state president of Sri Rajput Karni Sena.
Rani Padmini or Padmavati was queen of Chittorgarh. She is still honored as a symbol of valor and women’s dignity in Rajasthani mindset. But, the protesters including Jauhar Smriti Sansthan (JSS) claimed that the Great Rajasthani Queen is depicted in a bad light in Bhansali’s film.
Apart from stirring emotion in the protest rally with questions like “Can a Rajput show his wife to any stranger”, a query that received a roar of “Nahi, kabhi nahi (No, never),” their speeches were also high on empirical data. They claimed Allauddin Khilji did attack Chittorgarh in 1303 AD, but not for Rani Padmini (the Sansthan claims her real name was Padmani), so the question of Khilji seeing Padmavati in the mirror did not arise.
“The popular mirror narrative was coined by Malik Mohammad Jayasi in his poem Padmavati in 1540 CE, during the reign of Sher Shah Suri, almost 237 years after the historical event,” said JSS spokesperson Lokendra Singh Chundawat.
He said before releasing posters and trailer of the film it should have been shown to the historians and intellectuals, but inspite of the promise made by Bhansali’s team a few months back nothing was done.
“We are now going to Gujarat to hold a press conference there and also hold a rally in Gandhinagar on November 12 against the movie,” said Mahipal Singh Makrana of Sri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS).
In January, activists of a Rajput organisation, SRKS had protested, manhandled and misbehaved with the crew of “Padmavati” claiming that Bhansali was distorting historical facts in the movie.
They had also damaged some cameras and other equipments. Bhansali had to stop shooting then.
“We will not allow distorted facts to be shown in the anti-Rajput film ‘Padmavati’ at any cost,” Makrana said.
Karni Sena claims that they have got a big library and that in no book is it written that Alauddin Khilji fell in love with Padmavati or that he was her lover.
“They are trying to defame Padmavati by distorting historical facts. It is not acceptable,” an activist of Karni Sena said.
In March some miscreants broke the mirrors in Padmini Mahal (palace) in Chittorgarh Fort where Alauddin Khilji is believed to have seen Rani Padmavati or Padmini.
Shri Rajput Karni Sena claims that mirror was invented years after this incident is claimed to have happened so it is a completely untrue and false story.
In the meanwhile, Election Commission refused to stall the release of Film ‘Padmavati’+ on the grounds of upcoming Gujarat assembly poll.
Now, various social, educational and research organisations are claiming an Expert team to review the film ‘Padmavati’ before release so that falsification of Malik Mohammad Jayasi and his ardent follower Sanjay Leela Bhansali can’t be paramount over the historical truth about Rani Padmini.