The Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which protested against the release of period drama Padmaavat, has now decided to back the Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha's protest against Manikarnika. The Brahmin Mahasabha is opposing the "historical tampering" of the story of Queen Laxmi Bai, also called Jhansi Ki Rani, in the Kangana Ranaut-starrer.
The film allegedly shows Laxmi Bai in a relationship with a British officer.
Shree Rajput Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi, asked if his outfit is lending support to the Brahmin Mahasabha in its fight against the film, said, "Agar Brahmin ka khoon bahega to Rajput kya chup rahega, jab Rajput ka khoon baha to Brahmin kabhi chup nahi raha (Rajputs will never keep quiet if Brahmins are affected, and vice versa)." He claimed that 10,000 letters were signed with blood by Brahmins to protest the release of Padmaavat.
On the issue of quashing of FIR against Sanjay Leela Bhansali, producer of Padmaavat, and against Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, he said it had to happen as the apex court has already declared that the film should be released and linked it to the matter of freedom of expression.
"The High Court will definitely follow the Supreme Court. There is nothing new in it," he added.
Asked if there is any chance of the film being released in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat, Kalvi said the "Supreme Court cannot dictate to cinema halls to release the film and depute paramilitary forces outside cinema halls". The four states had earlier decided against releasing the film, and three of them had approached the apex court.
"What we know is that cinema hall owners are not ready to screen the film in any of these states," he said, adding that on February 9, new films are releasing and hence cinema hall owners will be more interested in those.
Film distributor Raj Bansal, who looks after the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradeh market, has refused to release the film in the two states. The Multiplex Association has also refused to release the film in Rajasthan, Kalvi said.
"We have asked the government to set up a pre-screening board to look into issues related to historical tampering of facts. We strongly propose forming a panel to look into the controversies emerging in films as Padmaavat and Manikarnika."
He said the proposal was liked by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and even Vice President Venkaiah Naidu when he was heading the Informatin and Broadcasting Ministry.
"This board should be constituted by the Censor Board, state government or Government of India and should sort out the disputes emerging at any time when any historical tampering is reported. In such times the expert panel's role should come in," he added.
He said the Censor Board had invited three panelists to watch Padmaavat but their views were not paid heed to, and added that a pre-screening board will have a legal voice.