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Watch Padmaavat to challenge Karni Sena: Moviegoers defy violence, mayhem to be in theatres

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    New Delhi, Jan 26: First, they ask for a "ban". Then they spread "terror" to prove their point. Last but not the least, they don't even spare children and attack them mercilessly by throwing rocks at them.

    Call it drama or horror; this is how lumpen elements, who have created violence and mayhem in various parts of the country over the film Padmaavat, even before watching it, hijacked the nation since last year.

    padmaavat

    The real-life war over Padmaavat between the Hindu extremists and makers of the film well-backed by the Supreme Court and liberal Indians is a perfect case to ponder over as we celebrate the 69th Republic Day on Friday.

    Are we going to be a nation ruled by extremist forces? Or be the country our freedom fighters have envisioned by assuring justice, equality, liberty and fraternity to all, irrespective of their religion, caste and gender?

    Those who are closely tracking the controversy over the Bollywood magnum opus by maverick director Sanjay Leela Bhansali have called it many things at the same time--a cultural war to register Rajput or Hindu supremacy or politics over Padmaavat (earlier named Padmavati) to woo a particular community (the Rajput to be precise).

    But what do you call when a group of school children is caught in the middle of a violent war, all because a community does not approve of a film? Is it not terror? Will it be wrong to equate the Shri Rajput Karni Sena with any other terror organisation?

    Thankfully, the "goons" of Karni Sena are yet to brandish an AK47, but the burning of vehicles and destruction of public properties with the idea of creating riot-like situation is nothing but spreading terror.

    While political parties, especially the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), decided to be mute spectators of the hateful war over Padmaavat, film buffs proved that nothing can stop them if they want to watch a film.

    On Thursday, when the film was released across India--in many cities theatres looked akin to fortresses with heavy bandobast of security personnel to thwart the ugly agenda of miscreants--moviegoers said that they came to watch the film to challenge the likes of Karni Sena.

    One million people watched Padmaavat on its opening day, Viacom 18 Motion, the production house behind the film, said on Thursday. Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor starrer film was released in over 4,000 screens across the country.

    It is a big triumph for the makers of the film and actually of Indian democracy that no matter what "freedom of speech and expression" finally prevailed over ugly protests backed by political parties.

    "We are humbled with the response we have received for Padmaavat. Over 1 million Indians have already watched the film and occupancy levels for shows are very strong across more than 4,000 screens--with most running house-full. The feedback for the film has been overwhelming," a spokesperson of the production house said.

    "Delhi theaters recorded around 60 per cent occupancy. In Mumbai, it is 40-45 per cent. The response is positive," said a member of the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India.

    Many said that by staging a violent protest against the period film, Karni Sena has actually done a disservice to the Rajput cause, as the film is an "overdose" of Rajput valour.

    Historians alleged that Bhansali, in order to pander to the Rajputs, has wrongly depicted Alauddin Khilji as a barbarian in the film.

    Many on social media used good dose of sarcasm to attack the Hindu right-wing groups for protesting against Padmaavat.

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