Amid signs of rising intolerance, comes yet another instance of fringe groups taking the law into their own hands and running amok.
On Friday, Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was shooting some portions of "Padmavati" in Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur when at around 12 p.m. some activists of Shree Rajput Karni Sena gathered there and started to protest.
They manhandled and misbehaved with Bhansali and his crew members. They also damaged some cameras and other equipment, forcing Bhansali to stop shooting.
The activists assaulted Bhansali, slapped him and tore up his shirt.
Police had a tough time in controlling the situation.
"He (Bhansali) is distorting history and we will not allow them to do so," Lokendra Singh Kalvi, a senior leader of Karni Sena told a press conference in Jaipur on Saturday.
"This film should not be made. We wrote a number of times to Bhansali asking him to present history in the right manner. But he did not listen to us," Kalvi said.
Karni Sena claimed they have got a big library. "In no book is it written that Alauddin Khilji fell in love with Padmavati or he was her lover," he said.
"They are trying to defame Padmavati by distorting historical facts. It is not acceptable," an activist of Karni Sena said.
Meanwhile, a day after Bhansali and his crew were assaulted on the sets of his forthcoming directorial "Padmavati", the filmmaker decided to cancel shooting in Jaipur, sources close to him said on Saturday.
"He has packed up and has said he will never shoot again in Jaipur," the sources added.
Sources said that Bhansali has decided to have sets in Mumbai and carry on shooting there.
According to reports, the team will be leaving for Mumbai from Jaipur later in the evening.
"We had earlier requested him (Bhansali) to show us the script which he did not do. We are against distorting of historical facts and we know that he has distorted historical facts," Vivek Singh of Karni Sena told IANS.
Ranveer Singh, who stars in the film, tweeted:
As a team, we are making 'Padmavati' keeping in mind the sensitivities and emotions of the people of Rajasthan and the Rajput community.— Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) January 28, 2017
Sanjay Sir is one of the most accomplished & authentic filmmakers we have in India, & he wont ever do anything to hurt anyones feelings.— Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) January 28, 2017
Whats happened is very unfortunate. We hope the people of Rajasthan will understand & empathise with our intentions & give us their support.— Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) January 28, 2017
The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd has condemned the attack on ace filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali by activists of a Rajput organisation, Shree Rajput Karni Sena, on the sets of his upcoming film "Padmavati" in Jaipur. It has also urged the Indian government to take "immediate steps" against "miscreants".
Guild President Siddharth Roy Kapur said in a statement: "As President of The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd and speaking on behalf of the entire film industry, I strongly condemn the acts of vandalism on the sets of 'Padmavati' as a direct attack on freedom of expression in our democracy.
"The film industry has become the softest target for any fringe group looking for media attention, and we need the strongest possible intervention from the authorities concerned to end this and to end it now.”
Kapur further went on and added: "We stand united and unflinching in our support of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and urge the Government of India and the state government of Rajasthan to take immediate steps to ensure the strongest possible punitive action is taken against these miscreants, so it serves as a deterrent in preventing the recurrence of such unacceptable events in the future.
"Padmavati" tells the story of Alauddin Khilji, the medieval-era Delhi ruler, who fell in love with Rajput queen Padmavati. Besides Ranveer, actors Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor star in the film.
The Bollywood fraternity soon come out in support and expressed solidarity with the director.
U don’t beat an idea by beating a person.U beat an idea by beating an idea. This politics of violence is chilling free speech. Raise ur voice!— Mahesh Bhatt (@MaheshNBhatt) January 28, 2017
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(With IANS inputs)