New Delhi, Nov 23: Call it irony or rising intolerance in the country, the fact is that no member belonging to Shri Rajput Karni Sena, the fringe group at the forefront protesting against the Bollywood film Padmavati has seen the movie.
Then what prompted the Rajput group to start such a violent agitation against the period drama based on the life of queen Padmini of Chittor, Rajasthan.
All these days, the protesters were claiming that the film, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, hurts the sentiments of the Rajputs and the Hindus in general by "distorting history".
The director of the film, maverick Sanjay Leela Bhansali, has repeatedly said that the movie in no way show the Rajput community and its women in bad light. He has also denied allegations of "love scenes" between Padmini (Padmavati) and ruler Alauddin Khilji, played by Deepika and Ranveer respectively, in the film.
Then why so much anger against the film when nobody knows (well except for the film's cast and crew and a select few journalists for whom the film was shown at a special screening recently) whether the makers have actually distorted history or not in Padmavati?
When the question was thrown at a press meet in Delhi on Wednesday, chief of Shri Rajput Karni Sena Lokendra Singh Kalvi admitted that he and his outfit members have not seen the film.
According to Kalvi, Bhansali is a "regular offender" when it comes to "distorting" history in cinema, and that he does not have any faith in the director's word that there are no intimate scenes between Allauddin Khilji and Padmavati in the film, stated a report by The Indian Express.
This is not the first time when the Rajput group has opposed a film. Back in 2008, director Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar also faced the ire of Shri Rajput Karni Sena.
Jodhaa Akbar was the first film that the group expressed its opposition to. The members of the group protested against Gowariker's film stating that Akbar had no Rajput queen named Jodhaa Bai.
After continues threats and protests, Shri Rajput Karni Sena now wants a complete ban on Padmavati. In the last few days, three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states--Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat--have decided not to screen the film in their respective territories.
Recently, the makers of the film decided to postpone its release taking into consideration the constant threats and protests against Padmavati, its director, and actors.
Moreover, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has recently sent back the film to the makers citing "technical deficiencies". The board has asked the makers to resend the film for revision.
The protest against Bhansali's film was started by Shri Rajput Karni Sena after its members vandalised the sets of the film and slapped the director during the shooting of Padmavati in Jaipur in January.
Thereafter, members of Shri Rajput Karni Sena once again destroyed the sets of the film in Maharashtra. After those two incidents, protests against the film almost went silent.
As the makers of the film released the trailer of Padmavati and declared its release date, protests over the film once again started and this time it got ample support from both the Congress and the BJP.
The protesters of the film, including descendants of Rajput rulers, stated that the film hurts the sentiments of the community and the Hindus in general by distorting historical facts.
However, historians are yet to confirm whether queen Padmini actually existed or not and the film has been inspired by a 16th-century poem.
In recent times, several political leaders and goons of right-wing groups have announced death threats against Deepika and Bhansali. Even the Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh governments are mulling over imposing a ban on the film which has irked several Hindu groups.