In sudden tragic turn of events, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali was attacked by a mob of protesters on Friday evening on the sets of his film Padmavati. Lokendra Kalvi, President of Srirajput Karni Sena — the group that has been blamed for Friday’s attacks — said the media that he felt it was their duty to save Rani Padmini's name and to prevent what he called a distortion of Rajput history.
“Our heroes gave up their life to make history. Did they die for this? This is beyond our limits of tolerance. Did they have permission to shoot?” Kalvi said at a press briefing. Shortly after the incident, entire film industry came forward in support of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and lashed out the protesters. Padmavati set was vandalised and Bhansali was assaulted.
Film and Television Producers Guild of India also has issued an official statement to the Central Government on Saturday demanding protection from attacks. In the statement, the guild wants strong measures to taken against the Karni sena who have assaulted and vandalised the sets of Padmavati.
Read the statement here:
The dastardly act of vandalism and assault which happened yesterday on the sets of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Padmavati’ at Jaipur is extremely unfortunate, deplorable and totally unacceptable to the Indian film industry. The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd. (“Guild”) in unison with the entire film fraternity strongly condemns this despicable episode and expresses its absolute and unflinching support to Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Guild President Siddharth Roy Kapur in no uncertain terms said, “As President of The Film & Television Producers Guild of India and speaking on behalf of the entire film industry, I strongly condemn the acts of vandalism on the sets of Padmavati as a direct attack on freedom of expression in our democracy. The film industry has become the softest target for any fringe group looking for media attention, and we need the strongest possible intervention from the concerned authorities to end this and to end it now. We stand united and unflinching in our support of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and urge the Government of India and the State Government of Rajasthan to take immediate steps to ensure the strongest possible punitive action is taken against these miscreants, so it serves as a deterrent in preventing the recurrence of such unacceptable events in the future."
The distressing part is that this is not the first time that fringe elements have unilaterally taken the law into their own hands to disrupt shoots/film releases and cause tremendous financial losses to film producers. The film Jodhaa Akbar was also not permitted to release in Rajasthan by the same group despite censor certification.
It is a glaring paradox that on the one hand the Central Government, various State Governments along with the film fraternity has been leaving no stone unturned to universally project India as an attractive shooting locale and on the other such hands miscreants are resorting to hooliganism of the worst order to defeat the ‘Shoot in India’ endeavor. Such disparaging incidents not only discourage our film makers to shoot in India with them preferring to travel abroad for shoots, but also puts foreign producers on the alarm against prospective plans to shoot in Indian locales. The sordid story of these debilitating turn of events is that such misinformed individuals/organizations are not even realizing the structured and methodical manner in which the process of film making evolves at the shooting/release stage and further at the time of certification clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The Guild makes a strong plea to the concerned ministries and authorities to promptly initiate stringent measures against these elements to send out a strong message to other misinformed individuals/bodies that such acts will not be tolerated in the future and thereby provide a timely deterrent against the repetition of these unacceptable incidents.