Film fraternity expresses concern over ‘Padmavati’ protests

Mumbai (PTI): Members from various film associations have come forward to raise concern over the state of creative freedom in the country amid protests against the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati”.

The Indian Films and TV Directors’ Association (IFTDA), along with 19 other bodies of the film and television industry from across the country, stopped shootings for 15 minutes yesterday and participated in the protest, ‘Main Azaad Hoon?’, (Am I free?) at Film City here.

Many Rajput groups have been up in arms against the film, alleging that it distorts history by featuring a romantic dream sequence between Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji’s characters, a claim repeatedly denied by Bhansali.

The makers of “Padmavati” have already deferred its release from December 1, till further notice.

Filmmaker and IFTDA convenor Ashoke Pandit said such protests were not just limited to “Padmavati” but were becoming a trend.

“This attack is on the freedom of expression, the entire film and TV industry. We are fearful and shocked that we are not getting any kind of support from any quarter of the country, except from film lovers,” Pandit said.

“Every three months a film is getting banned. The fear in which the industry is functioning, we are protesting against that. Don’t take us for granted.”

“Padmavati”, featuring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in the lead roles, has been facing the ire of various Rajput groups and political leaders.

The BJP-ruled states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have already expressed reservations about the film.

“… Let us work, let us write and make films the way we want, because if this trend starts, then Karni Sena and the like will start deciding how scripts will be written.

“All the makers here are scared of this trend. It’s our right to make films. If you want to watch, go ahead. If not, get a stay order from the court,” he said when asked about Karni Sena – the Rajput group which is spearheading the protest.

Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA), Western India Cinematographers’ Association, Screen Writers’ Association, The Film and Television Producers’ Guild of India Limited, Association of Voice Artistes, Cine Costume & Make-up Artiste and Hair Dressers’ Association, Cine Singer Association, Movie Stunt Artistes Association, among others participated in the protest.