Its been quite a while since I thought of writing something about the controversy that Padmavati has created here in India, but I preferred to keep mum about it for some time.
All I wanted was to see reactions from people having different sets of ideologies, people from different religions, caste, political background and people from different regions of the country. Now that people have said enough about it, I feel that I’m ready to express my views on the propaganda behind the issue.
There are two sides to it. Let’s understand them first.
1. The Critics: The whole Padmavati row started a year ago when people came to know that Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali is making a movie based on a Rajputana Queen, Rani Padmini, who preferred to give up her life rather than surrendering to a conqueror who killed her husband.
A Rajput group called “Karni Sena” decided to make an issue over it. They alleged that Mr Bhansali has tampered with history and added a dream sequence between Rani Padmini and the conqueror Allah-ud-din Khilji. They vandalized the sets, damaged the equipment and attacked Mr Bhansali as well. He moved to Maharashtra for the shoot only to face the same assault as he faced in Rajasthan.
All of this happened in full public view and is recorded on camera as well. The Sena people came out and issued threats that if he released the movie, there’d be serious consequences. Today, we see these consequences.
2. The Filmmakers: When the whole controversy aroused out of nowhere, Mr Bhansali came out and denied any tampering with the glorious history of Rani Padmini.
Everyone involved with the film, although asked not to comment, stated that the movie is all about the Rajput glory and nothing else. The actress who plays Rani Padmini, Deepika Padukone, herself came out and lashed out at critics for showing so much anger over a movie that no one has even watched.
1. I was not at all surprised over the ruckus created by Karni Sena as I’m very much familiar with the way of thinking of almost all political groups in this country. The thing that surprised me was the reaction from the people in power.
The destruction of the movie set and a cinema hall after that was recorded on the camera. People can be seen breaking whatever comes in their way. Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV does a sting operation on Chatrapal Singh, the Vice President of the Karni Sena where he is seen warning about violent consequences if the movie gets released and what happens? Nothing.
The goons walk free, and the CM keeps mum, MLAs support the Sena and leaders from the ruling party offer crores for actresses’ head. No one, not even a single person from the ruling party (in the state as well as the Centre) utters a single positive word. The Gujarat CM issued a statement that he’ll not let the movie release in the state of Gujarat. While most of them preferred to keep quiet, others made the situation more vulnerable. The reason – elections and the politics of propaganda. How can they miss out on scoring Rajput votes by lashing out at them? There was no significant number of arrests, and the critics continue to issue threats even now.
There’s nothing more disappointing than silence from the people who once took an oath to serve us in their full capacity. The people who represent us. The people who were chosen by us. The people whom we voted. Devastating. Is this the better India they talked about? Nahi chahiye bhaiya!
2. When all of this was happening, a reporter from India Today decided to expose the whole propaganda of Karni Sena. He met Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi, the president of the Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena at his Jaipur residence. He made up a story that he wanted to make a fictitious movie on Aurangzeb and his wife.
Mr Sukhdev told him to talk to one Umed Singh, his right-hand man and organisational convener of the group. You’ll be shocked like me by knowing what happened next. Umed Singh promised staged attacks on the sets of the reporter’s ‘film’ for publicity. His words, “Some people from outside will barge in. They’ll create some trouble. The sets will not be burned down. Two to four people will be beaten up. Vandalism will be recorded.”
This operation changed the whole thought process that was going on inside me. Maybe the filmmakers and Karni Sena are in this together. Soon after, I realised that apart from one or two appearances, Mr Bhansali had not come out and lashed out at them. This added a new point of view for me.
3. After all these allegations, the film was shown to Arnab Goswami and his team, who in my opinion, are credible enough. He told everyone on national TV there’s not even a single scene in the movie that is provocative or tempering of history or obscene. He also narrated Pro-Rajput dialogues from the film and bashed the Karni Sena on being the propagandists.
After hearing all this, the Karni Sena is still on the same page. The ruling party is still on the same page. The critics are on the same page. I guess you’re intelligent enough to figure out what their motive is.
Whatever be the reason behind the whole drama, I’m more of disappointed by the people who could make a difference. Had the people in the governing bodies came out and talked to the critics, we’d not be in a position we’re in today where the matters have gone out of control.
Another point I want to make is How can you prejudge? Karni Sena bashing Padmavati is like saying, “This dish is insipid” without even tasting it.
Our politicians, whether from the ruling party or the opposition, are maintaining a distance, which only goes on to prove that all they want is the ‘chair’ and they are so desperate that they’ll let cities burn but never utter a word of enlightenment.
There is a chance that the makers and the Karni Sena are in the same bed, but then again it doesn’t make any difference as the opinions of the representatives of our very own country are below the standards.
I believe if Karni Sena would’ve protested after watching the movie, it’d have been justified as we’d have listened to the points they’ll be making then. Also, if the government or any leaders came forward to be the middle man and solve the whole issue, they’d have restored my faith in Indian politics. This faith has died.
The whole Padmavati controversy reminds me of a dialogue from Gangs of Wasseypur where the actor says,”Jab tak bharat mein cinema hai, log c*******a bante hi rahenge.”
Please forgive me for my language but that is exactly how it is.