'Padmaavat' released amid tension, protests

I cannot believe what I’m seeing!!! @dp1stday1stshow what a show of pure genuine love & commitment!im not only touched & over joyed but extremely humbled seeing this absolutely unique initiative!lots & lots of love to each & every one of you!!!? #DP1stDay1stShow pic.twitter.com/HcP6NKl7Lm

— Deepika Padukone (@deepikapadukone) January 25, 2018 The Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, caught in a row that has lasted over a year, did not release in BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat due to protests by Shri Rajput Karni Sena over alleged distortion of Rajput history. Some theatres in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also did not screen it but most shows in Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere attracted a good number of viewers. According to the Bhansali Productions and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, occupancy levels for shows were “very strong across more than 4,000 screens – with most running houseful”. “We are hopeful that every Indian – across all states – will get a chance to see the film especially as we celebrate our great nation’s 69th Republic Day,” a Viacom18 spokesperson said. Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, the movie is based on 16th century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s famed “Padmavat”, widely regarded as a work of fiction. The Karni Sena had been up in arms against Bhansali since the movie’s inception over a romantic dream sequence involving Rajput queen Rani Padmavati and Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji — a scene which does not exist. Karni Sena remained adamant in its demand for a ban on the movie. But the Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the decks for an all-India release. Still, it was not screened in 179 screens in Rajasthan on Thursday amid a shutdown called by the Karni Sena, whose activists took out a bike rally in Jaipur. Chittorgarh turned into a fortress with heavy police deployment while Nagaur, Banswara, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Sikar, Jaisalmer, Sawai Madhopur, Pratapgarh and Khetdi also witnessed the impact of the shutdown. In Madhya Pradesh, theatre owners voiced security concerns and did not release “Padmaavat”. They held talks with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and are hoping for a solution to the impasse. Protesters burned a car outside a theatre. (IANS) // ]]>

SC to hear contempt plea against Karni Sena

The Supreme Court will hear on January 29 two petitions seeking contempt proceedings against Karni Sena leaders for obstructing the screening of film ‘Padmaavat’ that released on Thursday. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the petitions would be heard on Monday as both were mentioned separately on Thursday. The petitions have been moved by Pune-based social activist Tehseen Poonawala and Mumbai lawyer Vineet Dhanda. Referring to the widespread protests and vandalism by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena activists, the petitioners have contended that their actions were in violation of the January 18 order of the apex court. Dhanda has sought contempt proceedings against Shri Rajput Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi, its National President Suraj Pal and member Karam Singh.

(IANS) // ]]>

PADMAVATI IS DEAD, LONG LIVE PADMAVATI!

Rangeela Rasool that showed the Prophet as a worldly man given to ordinary pleasures. The publisher of the book, Mahashay Rajpal, was tried on the basis of complaints filed by Muslims but was acquitted two years later in 1929 because there was no law on the statute book, the Indian Penal Code, to specifically deal with promoting enmity or hatred between communities. Rajpal was murdered soon after his acquittal by a zealous young Muslim who was then executed after trial. The significance of this episode is that the British rulers of the time were pressured to add a section to the IPC that made insulting the leaders of any religious community a crime punishable with imprisonment. In other words, hate and hate crime made it to the statute book, imposing a considered restriction on what we now call freedom of speech and expression, or FoE as it is known in cyberspace. Cut to 1950. India had given itself a constitution incorporating —via Article 19 Clause 1a—freedom of speech and expression in its section of fundamental rights of citizens. The right to free expression was not absolute; it did have restrictions. At the time the Constitution was adopted, Clause 2 of Article 19 read: (2) Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevents the State from making any law relating to, libel, slander, defamation, contempt of court or any matter which offends against decency or morality or which undermines the security of, or tends to overthrow, the State.  Meanwhile, Hindu-Muslim riots had shaken up East Pakistan, and refugees streamed into India. Syama Prasad Mookerjee of the Hindu Mahasabha was in Prime Minister Nehru’s Cabinet at the time; the organisation was pretty vocal about its dreams of an Akhand (unified) Bharat. In April, Nehru made a deal with his Pakistan counterpart, Liaquat Ali Khan, to secure the peace. Part of the deal was clamping down on any propaganda for war between the two new nations. Two days before the pact, Mookerjee resigned over Nehru’s Pakistan policy. From then on he called for a war to reunite the two nations once again. Meanwhile, two Supreme Court decisions of the same year had overturned a ban on a left-leaning journal and pre-censorship of a right-wing journal. Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel corresponded with alacrity over these developments, and it all came down to the first amendment of the Constitution which added ‘public order’ and ‘incitement to offence’ to Clause 2 of Article 19. Significantly, the restrictions that the amended clause introduced were ‘reasonable’, leaving the door open to judicial review of any related action by the executive. The clause now reads: (2) Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence. Films— like the unreleased Padmavati is alleged to—can threaten public order, decency and morality. The last word on this is with the Central Board of Film Certification, a statutory body established in 1951. Padmavati has not yet been cleared by the board which only last year did not allow the release of a film called Mohalla Assi because it offended Hindu sentiments. On November 28, the Supreme Court refused—for the third time in November—to ban Padmavati, saying it is the prerogative of the censor board to review the film and make a decision on whether it is suitable for screening.  The court also rebuked persons holding public office—read chief ministers of states who have spoken against the film—for their comments on the film. “When the matter is pending the consideration of the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification), how can persons holding public offices comment on whether CBFC should issue certificate or not? That will prejudice the decision of the CBFC,” the court said. And there the matter rests. For now, that is. This means that if the CBFC clears the film, with or without cuts and/or changes, it can be due for nationwide release sometime next month. Therein lies the rub. State governments have the option to invoke their duty to uphold public order, decency and morality and ban the film. The BJP-ruled states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have already indicated so. Congress-ruled Punjab may just follow their cue, as can others like Bihar. Sectarian politics can yield results that overpower any agency of the state. Even if state governments do not block the film, theatre owners can refuse to screen the film for fear of violence by fringe groups, as was the case with Jodhaa Akbar in Rajasthan nine years ago. That time, it was the same Rajput Karni Sena that had taken to the streets with the all-too familiar complaint of ‘distortion of historical facts’. Thirty theatres in Rajasthan did not screen the movie that year because members of the Karni Sena sent them threatening letters written in blood. Street politics, too, can sometimes beat the state and the operation of the law of the land. Certified fit for public viewing or not, it is likely that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati will not make it to screens across more than half the country. But the legend of Padmavati that has inspired the protests against the film will live on. Padmavati is dead, Long Live Padmavati!


By Nardeep Singh Dahiya // ]]>

Dead man is latest twist in Padmavati controversy

One Message on stone: We don’t just burn effigies, We hang – Padmavati Liberals: ?? Talibanization, Hindu Terror etc Other Messages: 1 Lootere nai Allah k bande hai 2 Har kafir ka ye haal hoga 3 Jo kaafir ko maarega, Alla ko pyara hoga Liberals: ??Attempt for Communal Tension

— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) November 24, 2017 Deputy Commissioner of Police Satyendra Singh said that the dead man had been identified as Chetan Saini, a resident of Jaipur’s Shastri Nagar who ran a jewellery and handicrafts business. Singh said it was not clear if it was murder or suicide and that it would be too early to relate the messages on the rocks to “Padmavati”. The Rajput Karni Sena, which is most vocal against the movie, denied any involvement in the case. “We express complete disapproval of it and deny our involvement in any manner,” Vivek Singh Shekhawat, the Rajasthan General Secretary of the group said. The release of the Hindi film, earlier scheduled for December 1, has been deferred. Bhansali continued to get the support of the film fraternity. Prosenjit Chatterjee said “directors will stop doing historical films the way it has been handled”. Rani Mukerji said she stood by Bhansali: “He knows that I back him, love him. He is my darling and Sanjay truly believes how much I love him and he knows how I stand by him.”

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  (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy) (IANS) // ]]>

Padmavati cleared for UK, Karni Sena says fight on

Padmavati protest may go global soon with Rajput Karni Sena president Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi declaring their fight to ban the film will continue in Britain. Speaking to Republic TV, Gogamedi said,”Our Rajput brothers, our Hindu brothers in England (sic) will be asked to continue the protest there.” Gogamedi told the TV channel that his passport stands impounded because of his role in civil unrest related to a reservation protest led by the Sena or he would have gone himself. Saying the Sena would approach the World Court as well the authorities in Britain, he repeated the Sena’s earlier threat: “Any theatre that screens the film will be burnt down.”

Earlier on Thursday, as the British censors cleared the controversial film Padmavati for release on December 1, and India’s apex court said it will hear on November 28 a fresh plea seeking to block the release of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie outside India.

A source close to the film’s makers said Padmavati won’t release anywhere on December 1 — its original release date which was deferred after the Indian censor board returned their application on grounds that it was incomplete. “We are not releasing the film anywhere on December 1,” the source told IANS. A petitioner told the Supreme Court in New Delhi that “grave damage would be done to social harmony if the movie was allowed to be released abroad”. According to the official website of the British Board Of Film Classification (BBFC), Padmavati will be released “uncut” in the UK. But its release will now have to wait. The makers are yet to secure a censor certificate in India, where Chief Ministers of at least four states have taken a stand against the release of the historical drama. Starring Deepika Padukone with Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in key roles, the magnum opus tells the tale of Rani Padmavati, the legendary Mewar queen known for her beauty and intelligence as well as courage, her husband Maharawal Ratan Singh, a Rajput warrior king who fought to defend his kingdom and wife’s honour, and Sultan Alauddin Khilji. The movie, Bhansali says, is a tribute to the valour of legendary queen Padmavati. It is mired in controversy in India as Hindu groups backed by the BJP are up in arms against alleged “distortion of historical facts”. Bhansali has repeatedly rebuffed the charges but has been receiving brickbats. A Haryana BJP leader had even offered a reward of Rs 10 crore to anyone who would “behead” Bhansali and the film’s lead actress. Such reactions have disturbed members of the film fraternity. Masaan director Neeraj Ghaywan” and Pihu helmer Vinod Kapri expressed concern, while veteran actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the controversy. Shatrughan Sinha, a BJP MP, said: “I’d like to say it’s too late for our dynamic Prime Minister and the other high command to stay silent. Padmavati is a raging issue. And the fringe elements are openly issuing threats. How can the high command keep quiet when goons are threatening to behead Bhansali and Deepika Padukone? “It’s time for our honourable Prime Minister to say ‘enough is enough’. If you give the goons a free reign, they will continue to cross limits in ways we wouldn’t be able to control,” he said.

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(IANS)
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'We're ready for violence': Karni Sena on warpath

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati is far from lighting up big screens in India but the Shri Rajput Karni Sena is a super-hit already, making headlines across the nation and hogging prime time across channels. Swords are being flashed in public, and Karni Sena clones are talking of beheading or maiming the actress who plays the lead role. The man at the focus of the Sena’s exertions against Bollywood’s historical forays is Lokendra Singh Kalvi. Describing himself in a recent interview as 6-foot-4 and 118 kilos, Kalvi flirted with both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party for years before launching his Rajput organisation in 2006.  Here’s a Lokmarg report:   “Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a jihadi,” Shiv Kumar Raghav of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena told Lokmarg on Wednesday, the day his organisation’s top brass descended on Delhi’s Press Club to interact with the media on the Padmavati controversy. “All the cinema halls in India that screen the movie will be set on fire,” he said, invoking the term jauhar—the ritual mass immolation that is the stuff of Rajput legend—for his dire prediction. “Rajputs are ready to resort to violent means if our history is distorted.” Raghav got his lead from Sena supremo Lokendra Singh Kalvi. Addressing the media, Kalvi declared that the “reels of the film should be put inside a box and be committed to jauhar.” Kalvi’s campaign against the distortion of history in a yet unreleased film about a 14-th century ruler of the Delhi Sultanate period and his siege of a fortress in the Rajputana of that time has gathered nationwide momentum, jumping from the fringes into the political mainstream. At last count, three Bharatiya Janata Party chief ministers and one from the Congress were against screening of the film in their states. Asked about his campaign against the film, Kalvi told Lokmarg: “People across parties and communities have come out in support of a ban on Padmavati. Bhansali despite being slapped decided to go ahead with project. Karni Sena maintains will not allow the film to run. Bhansali doesn’t want to show it to us; he never contacted us. So, there’s no chance of any change in view.” Strong-arm tactics The Karni Sena got off to a start in 2008 with its campaign against Jodha Akbar, an Ashutosh Gowarikar film based on Mughal emperor Akbar. The ‘historical inaccuracies’ the Sena raged against meant several states banned the film. The matter went to the Supreme Court then and the ban was lifted, but letters written in blood by Karni Sena members to theatre owners in Rajasthan meant the ban, in effect, stayed. The Sena then took on Ekta Kapoor for producing a TV serial on the same topic, some members allegedly unleashing violence on a Jaipur office of the channel that broadcast it. The Sena, whose Facebook page says it has 7 lakh committed members, remains enmeshed in student politics, which in Rajasthan boils down to centuries of bad blood between Rajputs and Jats, an agrarian community that has, with the exception of two districts, always felt oppressed in the state. Bollywood has churned out a few hit films on this feud.


The Karni Sena

  • A caste group of Rajputs, the princely landowning caste most associated with Rajasthan, it was formed in 2006
  • It does not have a website, but describes itself on a Facebook page as a nationalistic social organisation
  • It claims 700,000 committed members but has a deeper reach in Rajasthan and its border regions with other states
  • It is against Padmavati because it ‘distorts history’ and ‘wrongly depicts’ the legendary Rajput queen
More recently, the Sena came out in support of Anandpal Singh, a dreaded gangster from Nagaur who was killed in a police encounter in June this year. Anandpal, a Rajput, had become a mythical Robin Hood character who ended the free run of many rival gangs of Jats in the state, escaped from jail, and was killed in what the Sena said was a staged encounter. A CBI probe was demanded; civil unrest ensued in Nagaur, and Anandpal was secretly cremated by the police weeks after his death. The Sena was at the focus of all it all when a condolence meet ended with a vow to vote against the BJP in the next elections. Rajputs, a princely landowning caste group, make up about 10% of the state’s population but have very high weightage in Rajasthan’s politics. The Karni Sena’s influence, in turn, is far more than its membership suggests. The Sena suffered a great deal of embarrassment in September when the organisation’s president, Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi, was secretly filmed by a news channel striking a protection deal for the bait of a period film about a Mughal emperor and a Rajput princess. Gogamedi, who posts on YouTube, said the video was doctored and threatened the channel with legal action. He’s been at the forefront of the Padmavati campaign this year. The Karni Sena ran riot on a set of the film in Jaipur this January, slapping Sanjay Leela Bhansali in the process. Videos of the violence went viral. In March, a room in the Chittorgarh fort related to the legend of Queen Padmavati was vandalised.  Then a set in Kolhapur was wrecked by arsonists. Bhansali was forced to meet Sena leaders. They say he allayed their fears and promised to show them the finished film before beginning the process of its release. After the BJP on November 2 sought a postponement of Padmavati’s release from the Election Commission over what it said was wrong depiction of history that would hurt some communities , there’s been no stopping the Sena.
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Chouhan, Amarinder say no to Padmavati release

Also on the Padmavati front

  • Deepika pulls out of Global Summit: Actress Deepika Padukone, who is at the centre of a row over “Padmavati”, has pulled out of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), that will have US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the inauguration on November 28 in Hyderabad. A senior official of Telangana government said on Monday that Deepika has withdrawn her name from the event. She had earlier confirmed her participation, the official said. The actress was one of the speakers at a session on ‘Hollywood to Nollywood to Bollywood: The Path to Moviemaking’.
  • SC rejects plea to restrain release: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea seeking to restrain the release of controversial film “Padmavati”, saying that that it is premature and would amount to pre-judging the matter. The reaction of a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra came after it was told that the Central Board of Film Certification has yet to clear the film. “‘Padmavati’ has not yet received certification from CBFC. In view of this, our interference will tantamount to pre-judging the matter. We don’t intend to do so,” the court said in its order, rejecting the plea to block the release of the movie.
  • Censor Board chief says talks are on: Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prasoon Joshi on Monday said the Board was trying to follow a process of dialogue vis-a-vis the stalemate surrounding Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film “Padmavati”, whose release has been delayed because of opposition from conservative groups. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural function of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) near Panaji, Joshi said: “We are trying to follow processes. Instead of arguments, attempts are being made to have a dialogue on the issue.”
  • BJP leader stands by bounty offer: Kunwar Surajpal Singh Ammu, a ruling BJP leader in Haryana, on Monday said he firmly stands by his announcement of a ?10-crore reward for beheading Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and film actress Deepika Padukone over their movie “Padmavati”. Ammu, chief media coordinator of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, said he gave the statement as a “Rajput” and not as an office-bearer of the party. Ammu said he had doubled the bounty on the heads of Deepika and Bhansali to Rs 10 crore. Ammu also issued a threat to break the legs of actor Ranveer Singh.
  • National Conference leader wants ban too: NC legislator Devender Rana urged Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to ban the release of ‘Padmavati’ in Jammu and Kashmir, whenever it gets the go-ahead from the CBFC. In a letter addressed to Mehbooba Mufti, Rana said: “The release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmavati’ is likely to hurt the sentiments of a particular community/religion and thus holds the potential to disrupt peace in Jammu region.” He said he was for a ban on the movie in the state as many delegations from across Jammu region had approached him on the issue in the last couple of days.

Amarinder Singh, in his comments said: “Anything that is historical event… no one will object. But here they are distorting history,” Singh told reporters. “I have also gone to Chittor and returned and seen all things there… So, this is distortion of history and no one will accept it.” “And if communities are objecting to it then it is their right to object,” the Punjab Chief Minister added. The comments come a day after the release of “Padmavati” was “voluntarily” deferred from its scheduled date of December 1. On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, had said the film would not be allowed to release in the state unless its “controversial portions were removed”. Even Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had on Saturday written to Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani to ensure that “Padmavati” is not released without necessary changes. The film has been mired in controversy over conjectures that it “distorts history” regarding Rajput queen Padmavati, a contention that Bhansali has repeatedly denied. Some Hindu groups, mainly the Karni Sena of Rajasthan, have been vigorously protesting against the movie’s release while some political outfits have demanded that its release be deferred in view of the Gujarat Assembly elections. “Padmavati” features Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles.

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(IANS) // ]]>