Bollywood rallied behind director Sanjay Leela Bhansali who was attacked by members of a fringe group, the Rajput Karni Sena, while shooting his upcoming historical drama "Padmavati" in Jaipur yesterday (January 27).
The filmmaker, has meanwhile, reportedly cancelled the shooting in Jaipur.
The film's lead actors Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor expressed their anguish on Twitter.
Deepika, who plays the titular role of Padmavati -- a medieval-era Rajput queen -- said she was "shocked" and disheartened by the events and said the team behind the film was not distorting any historical facts.
As Padmavati I can assure you that there is absolutely no distortion of history.#Padmavati
Ranveer Singh, who plays Turkish king Alauddin Khilji in the film, said the film was being made keeping in mind the "sensitivities and emotions of the people of Rajasthan." He also added that Sanjay Leela Bhansali one of the most accomplished and authentic filmmakers in India and he would not do anything to hurt anyone's feelings.
As a team, we are making 'Padmavati' keeping in mind the sensitivities and emotions of the people of Rajasthan and the Rajput community.
"Padmavati" is based on the character of Queen Padmavati, who features in the epic poem. "Padmavat", written by renowned poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in the 16th century
The plot of the film revolves around the 1303 siege of Rajasthan's Chittor fort by Alauddin Khilji. According to folklore, the invasion was motivated by his desire to capture Rani Padmavati, the wife of the ruler of Mewar, Rana Rawal Ratan Singh, who immolated herself after the fort was captured.
Fringe group defends itself
The Rajput Karni Sena is objecting to an alleged dream sequence between Padmavati and Alaudin Khilji. Its members went on a rampage during filming at Jaipur's Nahargarh Fort on Friday, and allegedly attacked Bhansali and destroyed film equipment.
They claim that the director is distorting facts and depicting Padmavati's character in a poor light. They also blamed the filmmaker's security personnel for the commotion, alleging that they had fired bullets in the air.
"He (Bhansali) is distorting history and we will not allow them to do so. In no book is it written that Alauddin Khilji fell in love with Padmavati or he was her lover," Lokendra Singh Kalvi, a senior leader of Karni Sena told the press in Jaipur on Saturday.
"This film should not be made. We wrote a number of times to Bhansali asking him to present history in the right manner. But he did not listen to us."
We had gone to talk to them but bullets were fired in the air which provoked the members. It was me who tried to stop the members from assaulting Bhansali," Mahipal Singh, the state chief of the group said.
Padmavati was not anyone's 'lover' :Rajasthan Congress leader criticises Bhansali
Rajasthan Congress leader Pratap Singh on Saturday said that Queen Padmavati was not anyone`s `lover` as the filmmaker is portraying her in his upcoming flick, and was devoted to her husband."
Padmavati has a history, she had fought for everyone. Chittaur is a pride of the nation," Pratap Singh told ANI.
Film industry soft target for fringe groups: Film body
The Film & Television Producers Guild of India today (January 28) urged the government to take strong punitive action against the miscreants, saying that the film industry had become a soft target by fringe groups.
"As President of The Film & Television Producers Guild of India and speaking on behalf of the entire film industry, I strongly condemn the acts of vandalism on the sets of 'Padmavati' as a direct attack on freedom of expression in our democracy," the film guild's president Siddharth Roy Kapur said.
The Guild pointed out that this is not the first time that fringe elements have "unilaterally taken the law into their own hands to disrupt shoots/film releases and cause tremendous financial losses to film producers."
"It is a glaring paradox that on the one hand the Central Government, various State Governments along with the film fraternity has been leaving no stone unturned to universally project India as an attractive shooting locale and on the other such hands miscreants are resorting to hooliganism of the worst order to defeat the `Shoot in India` endeavor," the film body said in a statement.
The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed historical magnum opus "Jodhaa Akbar" was also not permitted to release in Rajasthan by the same group despite censor certification, the guild said in a statement.
Here's how the rest of the film industry condemned the attack:
At the same time Shame on you Karni Sena, you make me feel ashamed to be a Rajput.. bloody spineless cowards ..
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal said taking law into one's own hands is never the right approach.
"Violence of any kind is terrible. You can have different views about incidents in history and that's another matter that people can also feel aggrieved but to take law into your hands and attack a person like this is simply not done. It is not the right way to approach it," Benegal told ANI.