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Posted at: Nov 14, 2017, 5:23 PM; last updated: Nov 14, 2017, 5:23 PM (IST)PADMAVATI ROW

Subramanian Swamy hits back at Padukone over her regression remark

Subramanian Swamy hits back at Padukone over her regression remark
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. File photo

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14

Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday hit back at actress Deepika Padukone whose latest film, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s epic period drama Padmavati, is in the thick of things.     

“Cine actress Deepika Padukone giving us lecture on regression!! Nation can progress only when it is regression from her perspective,” Swamy posted on Twitter.   

“It’s appalling, it’s absolutely appalling. What have we gotten ourselves into? And where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed,” Padukone was quoted as saying over the angry and violent protests against the movie in Rajasthan and some other places.      

While according to some political leaders, and that includes both from the BJP and the Congress, the furore was a result of “legitimate outrage” of Rajputs over “misrepresentation of the legendry queen who is no less than a ‘devi’—a goddess—for the community”.

Had the Gujarat elections not been around the corner, the protests may not have escalated to this level, they say.

“Even Jodha Akbar was not allowed to be screened in Rajasthan,” they say, pointing to the controversy that also followed the Hritik Roshan-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starrer a few years ago.

“Eventually, when it (Padmavati) is released, it will be available to people in Rajasthan via television and Direct to Home (DTH) platforms. So what is the point?” they argue, suggesting reasons other than mere social outrage which has now been also joined by former royals.

“It is a bandwagon people have jumped on to prove their relevance,” they claim.    

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali film starring Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh is scheduled to release on December 1.

However, the move has been in the eye of the storm right from the beginning.

Earlier there were reports of Rajput Karni Sena activists assaulting Bhansali, and vandalising his sets because, in their minds, he was trying to “distort” history with a supposed dream sequence featuring the revered Hindu queen and Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji.

Though Bhansali maintained that all care had been taken to maintain “Rajput honour”, the clarification had no effect on the protesters.  

There were protests in far-off states such as Jharkhand and more recently in neighbouring Haryana.

Minister Anil Vij also jumped in the controversy. While the BJP has been upfront and direct on its stance, the Congress also appears to be playing along with demands of special screening for community leaders to ascertain facts.

BJP leader Uma Bharti advocated a committee with historians, the filmmaker, the protestors and the censor board to decide on it while her party colleague Sakshi Maharaj slammed Bhansali for making money out of an attempt to disgrace a Rajput queen.

“I condemn this and urge Bhansali to make a film on Prophet Mohammad which will let him know about his stature,” Maharaj was quoted as saying.

In Gujarat, ultimately the polarisation factor will be the clincher, they say. In other words, poised to be released ahead of the crucial Gujarat polls, Padmavati may be “a part of bigger scheme”.  

“If the controversy had not been there, people would have seen the movie and forgotten about it. Obviously, the way it is carrying on and on there seems to be more to it than just anger over disrespect of the revered queen.

“However, some concerns appear to be genuine. For example Meera Bai (a devotee of Krishna and a celebrated Bhakti saint) who is worshipped like a ‘devi’ was also from Chittorgarh like Rani Padmani or Padmavati is said to be known. And also  the ‘Ghoomar’ dance that Padukone is said to have performed in the movie, women of royal families would not be seen doing it in front of others,” says a political observer from Rajasthan.

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