Release of Bollywood epic postponed amid death threats sent to female lead

Carla Harmon
November 23, 2017

The National Commission for Women on Monday summoned the Bharatiya Janata Party's chief media coordinator for Haryana, Suraj Pal Amu, a day after he announced a Rs 10-crore reward for anyone who beheads Padukone and Bhansali. The first poster of the movie was released in October after which Rajput groups started alleging that the director had "distorted" historical facts.

The film was scheduled to be released in theatres across India last Friday, but the release was deferred after the Indian Central Board of Film Certification, popularly called the censor board, withheld the movie's clearance claiming its paperwork was incomplete.

Padukone plays Padmini, the legendary queen who committed "jauhar", the medieval Rajput practice in which female royals walked into funeral fires to embrace death over the dishonour of being taken captive.

Security for Padukone, one of India's biggest movie stars, was increased earlier in November, Mumbai's joint commissioner of police Deven Bharti told CNN.

The deferment hasn't ended the controversy, however.

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Sunday said that the film would not be allowed to release in the state unless its "controversial portions were removed".

Amu reportedly also threatened to break actor Ranveer Singh's legs if he did not take back his words of support for the film and its director.

The story of the Queen comes from a 16-century poem.

The actor questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan as to why are keeping mum on the "burning" issue.

Not everyone sees it that way.

Just a few days away from its December 1 release, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed magnum opus got mired into controversies. Protesters spearheaded by politically influential Karni Sena - a Hindu outfit of the Rajput clan to which the queen belonged, have accused the film's team of distorting history by showing a Hindu queen in love with a Muslim ruler. Other reports claim the scene was in fact a dream sequence. "This film honors her courage and sacrifice", said Bhansali in a press statement made earlier in November.

Other reports by iNewsToday