The controversies surrounding Padmavati are getting more and more curious. The filmmakers have deferred the release of this historical fantasy, but its opponents are becoming even more unrelenting. And the kind of death threats levelled against director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and principal actor Deepika Padukone, who plays Rani Padmini, shows things are getting out of hand. There was only a ripple or two when fringe elements like the Karni Sena raised objections, but now that a Haryana BJP leader has announced a Rs 10-crore bounty on the head of Bhansali and Deepika, a line has clearly been crossed.
The BJP’s muted response to one from its ranks coming out with such an atrocious threat, that goes way beyond the pale of even hate speech, is beyond comprehension. Merely disassociating the party from such extreme steps is simply not good enough. Nor has the Haryana police swung into action over what is clearly a statement of murderous intent. The protesters are emboldened by the fact that the ruling party in all states where the row is peaking is also in power at the Centre. Curiously, most of Bollywood’s leading lights are also largely silent on an issue that vitally affects their industry, and they are the ones being held to ransom by those who know their nuisance value. It’s time for the film industry’s leaders to take a firm and united stand to condemn what is utterly unacceptable. These events reflect badly on a society that can’t even agree on how to solve the riddle of a film that is yet to be certified and viewed.