Mumbai: Deepika Padukone has been given special security by the Mumbai Police after a fringe group in Rajasthan called the Karni Sena threatened her with physical harm Thursday, escalating its protests against director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati, which features the actor in the title role.
“Rajputs never raise a hand on women but if need be, we will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha,” said a leader of the group in a video released today, referring to the act of cutting the nose off. The group has also called for a bandh across the country on December 1, the day the film is scheduled to release.
The threat prompted Mumbai police to increase the actor’s security cover. “We are providing her adequate security after the threat… The police will provide security at her residence as well as office in Mumbai,” senior Mumbai police officer Deven Bharti told news agency Press Trust of India.
Padmavati is based on the legend of Rani Padmini of Chittor and critics, mostly Rajput groups, say the film wrongly implies a romantic relationship between the queen and Emperor Alauddin Khilji. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has repeatedly denied the allegations and recently released a video clarifying that his film does not distort history.
“If we are talking about the respect of #Padmavati, then it is our moral obligation that we respect every woman. Disrespecting an actor is uncalled for and immoral,” union minister Uma Bharti tweeted after the Karni Sena threatened Ms Padukone.
But Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of Uma Bharti’s party the BJP is yet to comment on the threats of the group, which has also, in an open challenge to the state government, said that if Padmavati is not banned by November 17, it will stop tourists from entering the historical Chittorgarh Fort, where Rani Padmini is said to have lived in the 14th century.
Earlier this week, its members went on the rampage in Kota destroying shops and vandalising the ticket window of a cinema hall that was screening a trailer of the film. Padmavati stars Deepika Padukone as the Queen, while Shahid Kapoor plays Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh plays Alauddin Khilji.
The film ran into trouble with the influential Rajputs of Rajasthan soon after shooting began. Its sets were vandalised twice. The director was attacked while shooting in Rajasthan capital Jaipur. Deepika Padukone as trolled on Twitter with vitriolic tweets recently after she spoke about the film.