Deepika Padukone wants to feel “protected” Over ‘Padmavati’

After getting several threats over her film “Padmavati,” actress Deepika Padukone says she would like to feel “safer and protected” at this point. In an interview with “Talking Movies: India Special” for BBC World News, the actress voiced her opinion on the whole stir. In a recent interview, Deepika expressed her need to feel safe. Asked whether she would like protection from the state, she said, “In an ideal world, yes. I think it is too soon to tell. But yes it would be nicer to feel safer or protected at this point.”

The row over filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” continues to intensify after a Shri Rajput Karni Sena member threatened to chop off actress Deepika Padukone’s nose amid a call for “Bharat Bandh” (shutdown) on Dec. 1 when the film is slated for pan-India release.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s attempt to bring alive the story of Rajput queen Rani Padmavati on the silver screen with his movie “Padmavati” hasn’t gone down well with Hindu groups backed by the BJP. Bhansali’s Padmavati has been at the heart of a fiery controversy , which has now become a nation-wide debate. The film revolves around the tale of Rani Padmini of Chittor, and  fringe Rajput groups are less than pleased about this.

It features Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as her husband and a warrior king and Ranveer Singh essays Alauddin Khilji.

Bhansali faced many hiccups while shooting the film, but the protests escalated as the film neared its release date. There are conjectures that it “distorts history” regarding the Rajput queen, and Bhansali has denied it repeatedly. The movie’s release date has been deferred from the original Dec. 1 date, but there are efforts from Hindu groups to have it banned.

Despite several clarifications by the Padmavati team, they’re convinced that there is a romantic dream sequence between Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmini in the film. Spearheaded by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, they’ve been protesting for a ban of the film in every state, and have issued death threats to Bhansali and Deepika Padukone on a regular basis.

“Padmavati,” which also features Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, is yet to be certified by CBFC. However, the Rajput community has demanded a special screening of the film for them before it hits the theatres. Shri Rajput Karni Sena member Mahipal Singh Makrana said in a self-made video that “Rajputs never raise a hand on women, but if need be, we will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha.”

During the shooting of the film earlier this year, a few members of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena had physically assaulted Bhansali in Jaipur. The party members also set fire to the film’s set in Maharashtra. Padmavati has been banned in Bihar, Madhya Pradhesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, even before its release.

A reward of Rs 10-crore was announced for beheading filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone over their film “Padmavati.” Kunwar Surajpal Singh Ammu, a ruling BJP leader in Haryana, said he firmly stands by his announcement of Rs 10-crore reward for beheading the two.

Ammu, chief media coordinator of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, said he stated a “Rajput” and not as an office-bearer of the party. Ammu said he had doubled the bounty on the heads of Padukone and Bhansali to Rs 10 crore. Ammu also issued a threat to break the legs of actor Ranveer Singh.

Various organizations, political parties, and individuals have stood up for the Rajput community and have opposed the release of “Padmavati” over apprehensions that it distorts history in telling the tale of Rajput queen Padmavati. The Congress party also said that if there are scenes that hurt the sentiments of a particular community then the same need to be reviewed.

On the other hand, Deepika Padukone in an interview with IANS said nothing could stop the release of the film. “It’s appalling; it’s absolutely appalling. What have we gotten ourselves into? And where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed,” she said.

While the film is drawing a lot of flak from the political parties, Bhansali is getting unstinted support from the film community. “There is no fear, and one shouldn’t be scared either because I think this is a democratic country and everybody should be allowed to make films they want to make,” Aditi Rao Hydari, who is part of “Padmavati,” said.

Actress Richa Chadha, who worked with Bhansali in “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela,” said: “With all due respect and love, I am also a Hindu, and I don’t think religion is so weak that a movie can break it. And I think it is a specialty of India that we are a democracy, so watch the film before objecting.” Celebrities like Salman Khan, Karan Johar and Javed Akhtar also expressed their support to the film. Tamil film actor Kamal Haasan stands in support of “Padmavati” actress Deepika Padukone and says he respects the actress’ freedom. He also urged “cerebral India” to wake up.

“I want Deepika’s head.. saved. Respect it more than her body. Even more her freedom. Do not deny her that. Many communities have opposed my films. Extremism in any debate is deplorable. Wake up cerebral India. Time to think. We’ve said enough. Listen Ma Bharat,” Haasan wrote on Twitter.

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