The release of a highly anticipated Bollywood blockbuster has been delayed after a politician from India's governing party offered a bounty of $1.5 million for the heads of the movie's star and director amid outcry that the film distorted Hindu legend.
The movie “Padmavati” — depicting the life of legendary 14th-century queen Padmini — sparked the latest in a string of flash points from right-wing groups that perceive more clout under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has courted Hindu nationalists as part of his political base.
Often Hindu outrage is stoked by little more than rumors, including deadly riots and vigilante violence over false claims that Muslims were killing cows sacred to Hindu culture. But this time with the film, the reason for the outrage is even more puzzling.
Members of the Rajput Karni Sena, a group associated with the warrior Rajput caste, claim it misrepresents history by depicting a love affair between the queen and a Muslim invader. The group is further upset that the queen's midriff is exposed in a song sequence. They have called for a nationwide strike and backed the death threats against star Deepika Padukone and the film's director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
But Bhansali insists that the plot has no such love scene. And the movie trailer pays ample homage to Rajput bravery and their role in resisting Muslim armies.
The death threats — against one of India's most popular actresses and a prominent filmmaker — brought quick backlash. They were sharply denounced by leaders of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, and the home minister in the southern Karnataka state, Ramalinga Reddy, ordered protection for Padukone and her family.
Source: Washington Post