Jaipur/New Delhi : The body of a man was found hanging at Jaipur’s Nahargarh Fort on Friday with messages denouncing “Padmavati” scribbled on rocks nearby even as passions for and against the controversial film continued to rage.
While National Award winning actor Prosenjit Chatterjee and actress Rani Mukerji voiced distress over the violent rant against the film’s producer-director and actors, some people in New Delhi burnt filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s effigy outside a metro station.
However, there was some much-needed relief for Bhansali and Viacom18 Motion Pictures.
The Delhi High Court dismissed a PIL seeking an expert committee of historians and social activists to examine “Padmavati” to ensure there were no “distortions”, saying such “hopeless and misconceived” pleas were “encouraging” those agitating against the film.
Also, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee became the first Chief Minister to say she was ready to welcome the film and its crew — at a time when Chief Ministers of at least four other states have opposed the movie’s release.
Hindu groups backed by the BJP are up in arms against the movie over conjectures that it distorts history about Rajput queen Padmavati and Rajput culture.
Police in Jaipur said they were finding out whether the 40-year-old man’s death — his body was found on the outer walls of the Nahargarh Fort — had anything to do with the “Padmavati” row.
The message, scrawled on rocks nearby, read, “Hum putle nahin jalate… latkate hain” (We don’t burn effigies, we hang them).
“‘Padmavati’ ka virodh karne walon… Hum main hai dum.” (Those protesting against ‘Padmavati’ … We have guts)
Deputy Commissioner of Police Satyendra Singh told IANS that the dead man had been identified as Chetan Saini, a resident of Jaipur’s Shastri Nagar who ran a jewellery and handicrafts business.
Singh said it was not clear if it was murder or suicide and that it would be too early to relate the messages on the rocks to “Padmavati”.
The Rajput Karni Sena, which is most vocal against the movie, denied any involvement in the case.
“We express complete disapproval of it and deny our involvement in any manner,” Vivek Singh Shekhawat, the Rajasthan General Secretary of the group said.
The release of the Hindi film, earlier scheduled for December 1, has been deferred.
Bhansali continued to get the support of the film fraternity.
Prosenjit Chatterjee said “directors will stop doing historical films the way it has been handled”. Rani Mukerji said she stood by Bhansali: “He knows that I back him, love him. He is my darling and Sanjay truly believes how much I love him and he knows how I stand by him.”