Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Punjab on Monday joined the chorus of protests against Padmavati with Shivraj Singh Chouhan warning the film will not be screened in his state if it distorts history and Capt. Amarinder Singh saying cinematic license does not give anyone the right to twist historical facts.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, criticised the protests over the upcoming Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, alleging there was a "calculated plan" of a political party to destroy freedom of expression, calling it "super emergency". The Trinamoll Congress supremo did not name any party.
Earlier, the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, both Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, had also raised concern over the proposed release of the period drama in which actor Deepika Padukone plays the legendary Rajput queen.
The makers of Padmavati on Sunday said the release date of the film, which also featured Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles, has been deferred. The film was scheduled to be released on December 1.
Addressing members of the Rajput community at his residence in Bhopal, Chouhan said the film would not be allowed to be screened in MP if it contains scenes "breaching the honour" of the Rajput queen or portrays "distorted facts".
"We will not tolerate any distortion of historical facts. The entire country is speaking in one voice that historical facts were distorted (in the movie)," he said.
If there are scenes breaching the honour of Queen Padmavati, then the movie will not be allowed to be exhibited in Madhya Pradesh, Chouhan said.
The Congress alleged that Chouhan's announcement against the screening of the film was a "propaganda" for polarisation of votes in the next month's Gujarat elections.
"This is ridiculous. Chouhan made this announcement even before the movie was cleared by the censor board. This is a propaganda being staged in the view of ensuing Gujarat polls with an aim to polarise voters in that state," alleged Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh.
The Punjab chief minister said nobody had the right to distort history as he told reporters in Chandigarh that he himself has studied history and even been to Chittor.
"Cinematic license does not give anyone the right to twist historical facts...Those, whose feeling are hurt by distortion of facts, have the right to protest," he said when asked to comment on the controversy over the movie.
Protests are a justified recourse in a democratic system, said Singh, who leads the Congress government in Punjab.
Banerjee while describing the controversy over Padmavati as unfortunate urged the film industry to come out in support of Bhansali and his film.
"The Padmavati controversy is not only unfortunate but also a calculated plan of a political party to destroy the freedom to express ourselves.
"We condemn this super emergency. All in the film industry must come together and protest in one voice," Banerjee said in a tweet.
Various religious organisations, spearheaded by Shri Rajput Karni Sena, have alleged that director Bhansali has distorted facts in the film.
The film has been facing controversy since Bhansali started its shooting earlier this year.
The director was roughed up by members of the fringe group Rajput Karni Sena in Jaipur. Its elaborate sets were also vandalised during shooting schedules in Jaipur and Kolhapur.
The first poster of the movie was released in October this year and triggered a storm with various Rajput groups and others alleging that the director had "distorted" historical facts.
Take action against those threatening Deepika: K'taka CM to Khattar
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah asked his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar to take "stringent action" against those threatening actress Deepika Padukone who is being targeted by fringe groups for her lead role in Padmavati.
Coming out in support of the actress, the state government said security would be provided to the actress whenever she is in Bengaluru and her family, who hail from Karnataka, in the wake of threats issued to her by several outfits which allege the period film distorted history and hurt sentiments of their community.
Deepika is the daughter of badminton icon Prakash Padukone, who lives in Bengaluru.
Siddaramaiah's reaction came following a reported threat by the Haryana BJP media cell in charge, Suraj Pal Amu announcing a bounty of Rs 10 crore on the actress.
The reported threat came after a fringe group Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for those "burning Padukone alive."
Retweeting Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar's tweet, Siddaramaiah commented, "I condemn the culture of intolerance & hate perpetuated by @BJP4India. Karnataka stands with @deepikapadukone."
"She is a globally renowned artist from our state. I call upon the CM of Haryana @mlkhattar to take strict action against those holding out threats against her," he said.
Shivakumar tweeted, "It is condemnable that a BJP office bearer is placing a bounty of Rs 10 crore on @deepikapadukone, who is from our state & the daughter of one of India's most respected sportsman."
"Is this BJP's culture & the way they show respect towards women? Immediate action should be taken."
He said he will write to the chief minister to offer protection to Padukone.
He demanded that the BJP apologise and make sure that intimidation doesn't happen. The minister appealed to all Indians, especially women and artistes, to speak for upholding freedom granted by the Constitution.
Karnataka Home minister Ramalinga Reddy told PTI the state will provide security to the actress and her family in the wake of the threats.
"Whenever Deepika is here in Karnataka, we will ensure that she gets adequate security. We will also provide security cover to her family staying here," Reddy said.