Protesters burn tyres, attack shops as ‘Padmaavat’ is released
MUMBAI (Reuters) – Protesters burnt tyres and vandalised shops to oppose the release of Bollywood film “Padmaavat”, which was enjoyed by a large number of people in cinemas.
Groups critical of the film have accused its director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, of distorting history by portraying a Muslim ruler as the “lover” of the Hindu Queen Padmavati of the Rajput warrior clan. The filmmakers deny the accusation.
In Raipur, capital of the central state of Chhattisgarh, the leader of another Rajput group, the Sarwa Kshatriya Mahasabha, was among 30 people police arrested on Wednesday, some of whom had protested outside a cinema. They were later released.
Police said they had made arrangements to ensure protests remained peaceful.
“We have foolproof deployments in all the places,” Amresh Mishra, a superintendent of police in Raipur, told Reuters. “We feel the screening will pass off peacefully.”
Television showed images of children cowering in fear on the floor of a schoolbus targeted by protesters in Gurugram, about 30 km (19 miles) from New Delhi, on Wednesday.
The lavishly-produced “Padmaavat”, a 163-minute film, centers on a Muslim ruler, Alauddin Khilji, and his battle with the Rajput king of Chittor, over the king’s wife, Rani Padmavati.
The film-makers have repeatedly said the film takes its inspiration from an epic poem of the same name, but their assurances have failed to assuage the Karni Sena group.
Supreme Court last week cleared the way for the film’s release and has blocked state governments from imposing bans on it.