After facing massive protests and backlash over the past few months, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's period drama Padmaavat is now all set to hit the theatres on January 25. The movie will enjoy a solo release as Akshay Kumar agreed to push the release date of PadMan on Bhansali's request.
But even after the Supreme Court suspended a four-state ban on the film, Rajput Karni Sena, which has been protesting against Padmaavat ever since it went on floors by the end of 2016, recently made an appeal to the people to impose 'public curfew' against the film.
And now the fringe group's patron and founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi has claimed that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has sent an invitation to Rajput Karni Sena and other Rajput associations to watch Padmaavat before the release of the film.
The letter read: "The film will maintain the honour and dignity of Queen Padmavati... The dream sequence being talked about in the film is just a rumour and we have already apprised you about the same in the letter sent on January 29, 2017. There is no such scene... We assure that the entire Rajput community will feel proud after watching the film."
However, Kalvi was apparently not happy with Bhansali's offer.
"We never asked him to show us the film but we wanted nine historians to be shown the film, out of which the film has been shown to three historians only. On top of it, the advice of these historians was also not considered. We now want that the film should be shown to the six remaining historians as well and their opinion on the same sought," Kalvi was quoted as saying by IANS. He also said that the historians have been insulted as their opinions were ignored.
In a press conference in Jaipur on Saturday (January 20), Kalvi said the letter has been sent after the date of release of the film was fixed. He alleged that it was just a "well-planned gimmick."
"This letter will be put into flames as it is just a part of show-off which has been done in an endeavour to prove that 'we have invited Rajput community leaders'."
Kalvi has now appealed to the prime minister to ban the film under section 6 of the Cinematograph Act.
"(A total of) 1908 Kshatriya females have registered their names to perform Jauhar in Chittorgarh on January 24 if the film's screening is not stopped," he said.
"Now at this point of time, the only solution is to ban the film completely," he added.
Padmaavat stars Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji.
From being assaulted on the film's set in Jaipur to the set being vandalised in Kolhapur to getting threats from detractors -- Bhansali has been facing the ire of organisations that are up in arms against the period drama since its inception -- from when it was titled Padmavati.
Months after facing opposition, the makers, Bhansali Productions and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, clarified that the film was based on 16th century Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi's epic poem Padmavat, and does not distort historical facts -- as was being alleged by some Rajput outfits.
The makers of Padmaavat secured a U/A certificate from the censor board after incorporating five modifications and locked the release date as January 25.
The Supreme Court on Thursday (January 18) paved the way for the all-India release for Padmaavat on January 25 by staying the operation of orders by the Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana governments banning its release.
But Kalvi said that "like every year, January 25 will come but (it will) not (be) the day of the release of the film."
"I feel obliged as Rajasthan and Gujarat film distributors have assured us that the film will not be released," he added.
Kalvi also warned that Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prasoon Joshi and lyricist Javed Akhtar will not be allowed to attend the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF).
(With IANS Inputs)