A lot of celebs have already spoken up over the incident that occurred on the sets of Padmavati and how the filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali was assaulted by the protesters from Karni Sena. As reported, a local organisation going by the name Karni Sena, created a havoc on the sets of the film in Jaigarh fort by vandalising it. The National award winning director was also assaulted by the crowd who beat him and tore his clothes. Actress Renuka Shahane has also reacted to the incident and in fact, posted a long piece on her Facebook page, questioning the reasons for the attack.

Her post says –

What happened to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the sets of Padmavati was appalling & horrifying. For goons to throw our laws to the wind, cause him bodily harm & vandalise the sets is disgusting. It turns out that their outrage stemmed from a rumour about a dream song between Rani Padmini & Alauddin Khilji!
Do these goons take whats app posts as the gospel truth?

I might not have agreed with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s interpretation of Devdas or his representation of Bajirao Peshwa & Kashibai in his Bajirao Mastani but I chose not to see the film. Why should a group of bullies, on hearsay, take the law into their own hands? If they had a grievance they should have addressed it in the right manner.

But evidently some people love violence and/or think the film industry is a soft target. If political parties can make capital of bullying film personalities into submission( or extort money from them) by pressurising them just before their big releases & the CM of Maharashtra mediates & therefore indirectly endorses this extra-Constitutionary authority form of bullying, then it opens the floodgates of hate by ” the hurt sentiment” brigade. (ALSO READ – Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s team issues official statment, clarifies there is no dream sequence between Padmavati and Khilji)

Whether it’s the custodians of Islam & their fatwa against Salman Rushdie & Taslima Nasreen or the Hindutva brigade who vandalised M F Hussain’s exhibitions or political parties who send out their well-equipped goons to vandalise offices of news houses; they are all signs of extreme intolerance! Yesterday I was on a TV news show discussing (supposedly) the Jaipur Lit Fest’s feeble response to certain Maulana’s protesting Taslima Nasreen’s invitation to the festival. And while the anchors were discussing the importance of freedom of speech one of them suddenly shouted out something about where the “award wapsi gang” were now when a supposedly liberal festival decides not to re-invite an author just because of pressure from some fringe groups!!

I was stunned by this unnecessary inclusion of the reference to a group of artists, writers & scientists who had returned their awards to protest growing intolerance in the country. While the news show was about freedom of speech, I was amused to see how much that news channel was against the peaceful, democratic right that those writers, artists, technicians, scientists had chosen as a means to protest what they considered was intolerance in the country. Wasn’t that their freedom of speech? There was no violence in it. They decided to return their well deserved awards back! And yet that is considered sacrilegious by that news anchor?

Bhalaa Taslima Nasreen ki freedom of speech unn national awards wapas karnewale writers, scientists aur directors se behetar kyun hai?
I have worked with some of these writers, editors & cinematographers & they are peace loving, tax paying honest citizens who have a right to put forth their point of view in a peaceful manner. Why club them together & call them the “award wapsi gang” as if they are monsters like the many-headed Hydra! They are human beings with an opinion that might be completely different from yours; but they have the right to protest peacefully! That is exactly what they did. And if they did it once it does not require them to do it again & again & again.
A) They do not have unlimited awards to return.
B) They are well within their rights to protest some & not other events because it is their life. They are not a Government agency that is answerable to the people of our country.

Meanwhile I’m glad that the film industry has unequivocally come together to show their solidarity to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, because what happened to him should not happen to any person in our country! The hooligans who caused immense damage to his set & outraged his dignity have to be dealt with in the strictest of manner possible by law, hopefully also swiftly!

For quite sometime the cast of the film, Sahhid Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh stayed mum, as did the others related to Padmavati. However, they soon spoke up and clarified the air around the film, stating how the film has not distorted any history in their film. Deepika for the first one to tweet, “In a state of shock!deeply saddened and disheartened by yesterday’s events!#Padmavati” her tweet stated. She assured that there is no distortion of facts, “As Padmavati I can assure you that there is absolutely no distortion of history.#Padmavati” And concluded the tweet with, “Our only endeavour is & has always been to share with the world the story of this courageous & powerful woman in the purest form there is.” (ALSO READ – After Deepika Padukone, even Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor have reacted to the vandalism and attack that occurred on the sets of Padmavati in Jaipur)

The tweets of DP were soon followed by Ranveer and Shahid. Singh said, “As a team, we are making ‘Padmavati’ keeping in mind the sensitivities and emotions of the people of Rajasthan and the Rajput community.Sanjay Sir is one of the most accomplished & authentic filmmakers we have in India, & he wont ever do anything to hurt anyones feelings.Whats happened is very unfortunate. We hope the people of Rajasthan will understand & empathise with our intentions & give us their support.” and concluded his statement. Shahid too took to Twitter to say, “Very very sad. Words do fall short and feel too little to express feelings. Violence is unacceptable. This incident has shocked me. We need to look deep within as a society, as a country, as a people. Where are we headed. Sanjay bhansali is a film maker who the country should be proud of. You will know when u see #padmavati the dignity he brings to it. And my only regret is that I wasn’t by his side when this happened.”

Stay tuned to this space to know what’s next for the cast and crew of Padmavati.