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As Karni Sena Stoops To A New Low, Film Industry Cowers In Silence

The Karni Sena’s declaration that they would make a film on director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s mother marks a  new low in fringe  bullying. One would think this alarming below-the-belt attack would finally wake up the film industry caught in  a deep slumber.

As one prominent  actor put it, “Today it’s SLB’s mom tomorrow it would be KJO’s mom. Where  does this  stop.”

One of  the  film industry’s most vocal representatives,  filmmaker Ashoke Pandit says  it won’t stop. “The Bollywood bullying has only begun. Do they think the Karni Sena  and other fringe groups are  going to stop  with Padmaavat? They’ve tasted blood. They’ll come back for more. They’ve realized this is an entertainment industry filled with cowards and pacifists.”

  Pandit takes a  dig at the empowered superstars  who kept quiet through  the attack onPadmaavat. “ Apart from Javed-Shabana and Farhan Akhtar no one  spoke out while  SanjayBhansali was being attacked,  not even the big superstars who have worked with Bhansali. They  all looked  the  other way while the  fire raged . Which is really strange.  No  one was asking them  to descend on the streets with banners and candles. All you had to do was tweet your support  or write  a blog on Facebook. Big stars who are usually so vocal on social media were suddenly paralyzed by fear.”

Pandit sees  the fringe attack  on Padmaavat as an act of  terrorism. “We dealt with underworld extortion  in the 1990s. Now this is another form of extortion. We’ve seen in a sting operation members of a fringe group asking for Rs 1 crore to stop their protests. Now I hear the Karni Sena is  ready to  compensate Bhansali for his investment  if  they are given the rights of  Padmaavat…what rights?And where are they finding such funds to fuel their hatred?”

Pandit  sees  this as just the beginning of Bollywood’s bullying.  “The fringe  groups will now  try to muscle into as many films as possible. They will demand to know why AamirKhan, a Muslim is making Mahabharat. Or  why Mohammed Rafi sang one of  the most beautiful Bhajans Mann tarpat hari darshan  ko aaj. The nightmare  is never going to end now for the  film industry.And for those elements  in  the film industry who are sayingBhansali didn’t speak up for himself,  did  not lodge an FIR after he was assaulted here  is news.In Rajashthan when he was assaulted Bhansali saw police personnel touching the feet of Karni Sena members.It scared Bhansali off any attempts to get  justice. However he did lodge an FIR after the second attack  in Kolhapur. The  filmmaking fraternity in  Mumbaidoesn’t seem to know what Bhansali has gone through. Worst of all, they don’t seem  to care.”

Pandit lauds the Pakistani  censor board  for clearing  Padamaavat. “In spite of AllauddinKhilji being portrayed as a complete beast, they had no objection to the film.In India the censor board was  very fair  to  Padmaavat . But they had to surrender to fringe elements and cover Deepika Padukone’s midriff in the Ghoomar song. ”

That’s hardly  a fringe benefit.

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