Entry to the famous Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan was closed on Friday in protest against filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming movie ‘Padmavati’, which many claim have distorted historical facts. “We have closed the first gate known as Padan Pol gate since 10 AM. We are not allowing anyone to enter the fort. It is a peaceful protest and will continue until 6 PM,” member of Sarv Samaj Protest Committee Ranjit Singh told IANS. Tourists visiting the fort were requested to go back, he said.
On an average over 3,000-4,000 tourists visit the fort starting from October, as the tourist season picks up. “We have just started our protest and around 400-450 people are sitting on dharna outside the gate. The number is likely to increase as the day progresses,” said K.K. Sharma, a member of the protest committee. The police, however, said the number of protestors was not more than 250. The protestors demand that the movie, based on the life of Rani Padmini or Padmavati, who was the queen of Chittorgarh, should not be released. “It is for the first time since Independence that the entry to the fort has been blocked,” claimed another member of the committee.
There is heavy police presence to deal with any untoward incident. Barricades have been put up outside the fort. A Karni Sena leader on Thursday threatened actress Deepika Padukone, who plays the lead in the movie, with physical harm over her ‘provocative statements’. Earlier this week in an interview, Deepika said: “The only people we are answerable to is the censor board, and I know and I believe that nothing can stop the release of this film.” A Brahmin group also conducted a signature campaign in blood demanding a ban on the film.
Even the Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti Dargah in Ajmer has issued a statement requesting a ban. Activists of the Karni Sena had on Tuesday vandalised a theatre in Kota, Rajasthan, over reports that it was showing a trailer of ‘Padmavati’ In January, activists of the Karni Sena had manhandled with the crew of ‘Padmavati’ in Jaipur, claiming that Bhansali was ‘distorting’ historical facts in the movie. They had also damaged some cameras and other equipment. Bhansali had to stop shooting. “They are trying to defame queen Padmavati by distorting historical facts. It is not acceptable,” an activist of the Karni Sena said.
In March, some miscreants broke the mirrors at the Padmini Mahal in Chittorgarh Fort where Alauddin Khilji is alleged to have seen Rani Padmavati or Padmini’s reflection. The Karni Sena claims the mirror story was invented years later.