The film distributed in over 5 thousand cinemas. It is opposed by the high castes of Gujarat and Hindu groups Karni Sena and Mahakaal Sena. In the clashes, a children's bus set on fire. Supreme Court reiterates the "right of free expression of cinema".
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The film Padmaavat, the Bollywood epic that in recent months has attracted fierce criticism from radical Hindu groups, was released yesterday in cinemas throughout India.
The distribution was opposed by four States (Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan) who complained it was a distorted and offensive reading of historical facts. After the intervention of the Supreme Court that ordered the screening in the cinemas, now it will be the public to establish the success of the film. From the long queues forming outside cinemas it is obvious that curiosity prevails.
On the eve of the film's release protests erupted in many areas of the country. In Gurgaon, the radicals set fire to a bus carrying children to school. The images of the burning bus went viral and provoked indignation. No one was hurt.
Meanwhile, yesterday representatives of Karni Sena, one of the Hindu groups opposed to the film, tried to convince the spectators not to enter the theaters by distributing red roses. A man waiting for the screening in Lucknow reports: "If I did not watch the film, I would support the Karni Sena and the violent ones who attacked the children".
The controversy about the film broke out last November. Hindu nationalists forced a delay in production, scheduled for December 1st. They also launched death threats against the protagonists, star Deepika Padukone and colleague Ranveer Singh, two very famous Bollywood actors.
In addition to the fundamentalists of Karni Sena, Hindus of Mahakaal Sena, along with some organizations representing the high castes of Gujarat are also protesting. The reason for the disagreement is a romantic scene between the Hindu queen Padmavati (role played by the Bollywood star) and the invading Muslim king Alauddin Khilji (Singh). After seeing the film, the spectator Suman Sharma says: "The controversy over the love story is completely misplaced".
The Radicals first staged street demonstrations, then tried in every way to prevent the projection. The film was reviewed by the Central Board of Film Certification, which changed its title from "Padmavati" to "Padmavaat". Finally, on January 18, the Supreme Court ruled that "states cannot forbid the screening of the film". President Dipak Misra added that "cinemas are an inseparable part of the right to free speech and expression".
Now the film is available in over 5 thousand cinemas. The Viacom 18 Motion Pictures production has paid over $ 30 million for filming, one of the highest sums in Indian cinema.