An Indian politician from the ruling BJP party has joined the list of critics of the Deepika Padukone-starrer Padmavati — a historical film that has been at the centre of controversies and violent protests for months.
A veteran Bollywood actor himself, Shatrughan Sinha lashed out at the movie's director Sanjay Leela Bhansali for organising a private screening of the contentious film for select media persons. He argued that the screening was held even before the film got clearance from India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Condemning the director's act, the lawmaker reportedly suggested that Bhansali should have first screened his film before the The Shri Rajput Karni Sena members as he had allegedly promised to do.
The fringe group has been holding nationwide protests seeking a ban on the release of Padmavati accusing the director of manipulating historical facts.
The film is centred on the legend of Padmini, a Rajput queen of 13th century Chittorgarh in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The Karni Sena and other protesting groups allege misrepresentation of historical facts and portrayal of the Rajput queen in a bad light.
Sinha's comments came during a recent felicitation ceremony organised by the Karni Sena. The actor-turned-politician was honoured by the caste organisation for his stand on the issue.
Speaking at the event, the lawmaker also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani to speak up on the controversy.
Earlier in November, Sinha had roped in Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan into the issue, questioning their silence.
However, the actor himself had refused to comment on the matter at the time. "I speak only when I am spoken to & I will speak keeping in mind the interests of the filmmaker as well as the sensitivity, valour, loyalty of the great Rajputs," Sinha had then shared via Twitter.
Meanwhile, Padmavati producers Viacom18 Motion Pictures are currently awaiting a certification from the CBFC. According to reports, even the CBFC questioned the producers about the private screening, a move which has been met with violent protests and even led to a delay in the film's release.
Asides Padukone, Padmavati also stars Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. The protesting groups have issued threats of beheading and assault against Padukone and director Bhansali.