The protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati has intensified to disturbing levels over the last few months and it has even included a death. With threats of beheading Bhansali and lead actress Deepika Padukone making the rounds, the Indian Films and TV Directors’ Association (IFTDA), along with 20 other bodies of the film and television industry, is planning a 15-minute blackout in support of the film and ‘to protect the right to freedom of expression of creative individuals.’
In the protest titled Azad Main Hoon, members of film and television industry will be conducting the blackout protest, on November 26 at the Film City main entrance from 3.30 p.m.. Ashoke Pandit of IFTDA told IANS, “We will keep showing our support for ‘Padmavati’ and SLB (Sanjay Leela Bhansali) because it is the basic right of a creative person to tell a story in his own way. Sanjay is a responsible filmmaker, and making a film on history is not something easy for him but a big responsibility. To express our solidarity (with the film), we are gathering on Sunday for a 15-minute blackout where all shooting units in Mumbai will put off lights and no shootings will take place.”He further added, “We strongly protest against the non-institutional bodies who every now and then protest against movies and threaten actors and makers of films. We will keep condemning their actions in a democratic manner. We have faith in our Prime Minister for justice to Padmavati.”
“We, as film industry, feel hurt every time such groups target our films and try to control our freedom of expression. Unfortunately, we do not get support from any other industry, not even from the government as if we are orphans as a community,” Pandit added. Only earlier this month, IFTDA, along with several other film and television bodies, poured in their support for the movie.“We are living in a democracy and I have faith in the government and its judiciary. These protesters have not watched the film, and Sanjay has already made it very clear by releasing a video that it is a tribute to Padmavati and no obscene scenes are there,” said Ashoke.
Padmavati was set to release on December 1 but the date with the box office has been postponed after the censor board returned the form to the makers due to technical deficiencies. The new release date has not been announced yet.