Have goon, will bully. This is the culture that has taken over our country. Artistes are the most vulnerable lot. Busy creating works of art they never learn to defend themselves.
Hence when on Friday afternoon goons masquerading as caretakers of our historical heritage, descended on my friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s location in Jaipur, he didn’t know what hit him. My blood freezes at the sheer temerity of these thugs and rioters who are apparently given religious sanction to protest against any individual or work of art in progress they deem to be anti-Hindu.
The bone of contention regarding Padmavati is the supposed “intimacy” shown between Deepika Padukone andRanveer Singh, playing Rani Padmavati and the invader Allauddin Khilji. Apparently the louts—I am afraid there is no politer word to describe them—had concluded that there was a “dream sequence” in the film in which the lead couple would be shown to get intimate. This, the lumpen elements decided, without seeing a single shot in the film.
But here’s the thing. There is NO SUCH THING IN THE FILM. Forget about even a moment of intimacy between Ranveer and Deepika.The two don’t even meet in the film. They don’t share a single moment of screen-space together.
Shame on the desk-piece writer who decided on a bored afternoon to generate some excitement by writing intimacy into a dream sequence between Rani Padmavati and Khilji. Someone’s dream can turn into another person’s nightmare, as one of India’s finest filmmakers discovered on Friday afternoon.
The scariest part of the attack is that it can happen to anyone anywhere. We have self-appointed vigilantes and custodians of the Hindu religion swarming every corner of the nation. They can smell the beef in the refrigerator or intimacy between two characters who don’t even meet in a film, even if neither exists.
On Friday afternoon in Jaipur when Sanjay and his team was attacked there was posse of 10 policement to protect the Padmavati crew. The goons roughed up the cops and stormed into the area of shooting shouting slogans and warning the director of dire consequences. They then rushed towards Sanjay and manhandled him.
If this is what we do to someone as powerful as Sanjay Bhansali, what happens to lesser mortals who are suspected of insulting nationalististic sentiments?
Maybe as the deeply concerned Simi Garewal said after the attack, it is time Bollywood stopped making films based on episodes of Rajasthan history. The locals are way too paranoid about their people from the past.Ashutosh Gowariker faced tremendous opposition before the release of Jodhaa Akbar, and now Sanjay Bhansali.
Except that Gowariker was not roughed up. What happened to Sanjay Bhansali proves we are living in more troubled times than ever before.