Monday, December 4, 2017

Padmavati: Myth, Hindutva, and Modern India

Dr. Nilanjana Paul

The release of the movie Padmavati, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is the center of current debate between the Mumbai film fraternity and Karni Sena of Rajasthan. Lokendra Singh Kalvi, founder of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena called for Bharat Bandh (All India Shutdown) if the movie is released on December 1. In the wake of the threats, the release of the film has been postponed indefinitely by the producers. Karni Sena,is a caste based Hindu organization, that claims to defend the rights of Rajputs (patrilineal clans associated with warriorhood). Karni Sena has a long history of opposing movies such as the Jodha Akbar and destroying the sets of Padmavati. They claimed that the intimate scene between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji went against the values and sentiments of the Rajput community. Since then a lot has been written on Padmavati and how it should be open to historical interpretation.This article aims to problematize how both the movie and the opposition faced by it are part of the larger Hindutva project to divide the country based on religion in an already polarized situation.