Source: Huffington Post
By Carol Kuruvilla
The debut of “Padmaavat” set off a new round of discord.
A controversial new Bollywood movie is causing security concerns in India as it opens in theaters across the country on Thursday.
“Padmaavat” has all the hallmarks of what might have been a universally celebrated Bollywood epic ― a critically acclaimed director, an estimated $30 million production budget, A-list actors dressed in lavish finery, elaborate dance and action sequences, and a love story to tie it all together.
Yet in the months before its opening, the film provoked street protestors to burn effigies of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and prompted a showdown in India’s Supreme Court over whether state governments can ban the movie.
Hundreds of women have threatened to commit suicide, and in some states, theater companies scrapped plans to screen the movie for fear of violence.
The uproar puzzles some onlookers. Many protestors have yet to see the film and are basing their fury on hearsay, The New York Times reports. In addition, scholars of Indian history actually are uncertain whether the queen was a real historical figure.
The Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji and his Hindu opponent Ratan Sen are real figures from 14th-century India. Padmavati’s story was immortalized two centuries later, in an epic poem by the mystic Malik Muhammad Jayasi. The filmmakers have said the movie is inspired by that poem.