The buzz around Padmavati took a drastic turn on Friday, when the members of a radical group — the Rajput Karni Sena — stormed the sets of the movie in Rajasthan. The group vandalised the sets and even roughed up the director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali. While the police detained five individuals for disrupting peace, following no action from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s quarters, they were released from custody.
The film fraternity, in the meanwhile, has risen as one against the outrage and are condemning the incident. Some, however, believe that the time for dialogue is over and stricter action needs to be taken.
“A hashtag won’t change things. We need assurance from the governments that they will ensure that such a thing does not repeat. It has been over 17 years that the Shiv Sena blackened my face over a dialogue in a film, and if anything, the situation has only become worse,” says filmmaker Hansal Mehta.
Director Anil Sharma, who shot his film Gadar: Ek Prem Katha in Rajasthan, says, “If you have a point to put across then you come and speak with the director. You don’t go and beat him up!”
Director Mohit Suri concurs with Anil’s views and says, “We have a Censor Board which can decide if something is historically relevant or if something insults someone’s religious sentiments. How can these people take matters into their own hands? How do they even know what is happening in the film when it hasn’t even been shot yet?”
The culpability, however, says Hansal, lies partly with the fraternity itself, since it has failed to stand up for itself on so many occasions prior to this.
“This is a result of our own silence and subservience to the continuous process of suppression of our cultural freedom, which has been going on for a while. Our freedom of expression has been systematically curtailed but there is no counter effort from the fraternity,” he says.
Vivek Agnihotri, who was mobbed by university students and sustained injuries in the altercation, says that he understands SLB’s predicament.
“The problem is that there is no outrage from the film fraternity on Twitter when a smaller film director faces a similar predicament. If production houses like Phantom Films and Dharma Productions were to simply say that we will make no more films until something is done, then the government would be bound to act,” he says....