The Karni Sena’s declaration that they would make a film on director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s mother marks a new low in fringe bullying. One of the film industry’s most vocal representatives, filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, says it won’t stop. “The Bollywood bullying has only begun. Do they think the Karni Sena and other fringe groups are going to stop with Padmaavat?”
Ashoke takes a dig at the empowered superstars who kept quiet through the attack on Padmaavat. “Apart from Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi and Farhan Akhtar, no one spoke out while Bhansali was being attacked. Even the superstars who worked with him looked the other way. Big stars, who are usually so vocal on social media were suddenly paralysed by fear,” he says.
Ashoke sees the fringe attack on Padmaavat as an act of terrorism. “We dealt with underworld extortions in the 1990s. Now, this is another form of extortion.” The filmmaker sees this as just the beginning of Bollywood’s bullying. “The fringe groups will now try to muscle into as many films as possible. They will demand to know why Aamir Khan, a Muslim, is making Mahabharat. Or why Mohammed Rafi sang one of the most beautiful bhajans. The film fraternity in Mumbai doesn’t seem to know what Bhansali has gone through. Worst of all, they don’t seem to care,” he sighs.