Saturday 18 November 2017

Bounty placed on Bollywood actress' head after Hindu-Muslim film outrage

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Padmavati , Deepika Padukone

A Top Bollywood actress has been given a special police security detail amid ongoing protests over a historical drama.

Deepika Padukone has received violent threats over her lead role in the film Padmavati - the fable of a 14th century Hindu queen of Rajasthan, based on an epic medieval poem.

Cinemas have been vandalised in response, and riot police put on alert for its release on December 1.

Rightwing Hindu groups claim the film besmirches the name of Padmavati by insinuating she had a romance with a Muslim emperor while she was married to a Hindu king - a charge denied by the film's director.

Padmavati , Deepika Padukone

Mahipal Singh Akrana, president of fringe group Shree Rajput Karni Sena, said: "Rajputs never raise a hand to women but if need be, we will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha," referring to a story from the Ramayana Hindu legend in which a demon princess has her nose chopped off as punishment.

The director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, has written to India's Central Board of Film Certification asking it to speed up the release and hold a pre-screening to clear up any confusion.

He also released a video saying there was no objectionable scene between Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi.

The film has been beset with controversy since shooting began. Sets have been destroyed, Mr Bhansali was attacked in Japiur, and a group put a £600,000 bounty on the actress and director's heads.

The threats prompted Mumbai police to increase security for the director and Ms Padukone.

"We are providing her adequate security after the threat. The police will provide security at her residence as well as her office", Joint Commissioner of Police Deven Bharti told the Press Trust of India.

Ms Padukone responded to the outcry, saying: "Where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed. The only people we are answerable to is the censor board, and I know and I believe that nothing can stop the release of this film."

Historians dispute exactly who Rani Padmavati was and when, if at all, she was alive. Some claim her story was told and retold by balladeers over centuries, amalgamating various tales from across the Indian subcontinent.
The short version is that she was a Sri Lankan princess whose beauty was akin to Helen of Troy, and that the Rajasthani King Ratan Sen set off to find and marry her after hearing about her from a talking parrot gifted to him, after which the Sultan of Delhi also heard of her beguiling looks and came to invade Rajasthan.

Many historians claim the character as known now is based primarily on the poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s work ‘Padmavat’, from 1540.

                                                                                                                By The Telegraph

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