The attack on artistic freedom is something that is worrying creative minds all over the country. After the attack in Jaipur, the sets of Padmavati in Kolhapur were again vandalised causing loss worth crores to the makers. Unknown men set fire to the set, which was located at Masai Pathar, 35 kms from Kolhapur in Maharashtra. The hooligans used petrol bombs, lathis and stones to demolish the set and barged inside beating up the security. Costumes, jewellery and production equipment have been damaged. It seems the Rajput Karni Sena will approach Home Minister Rajnath Singh to advise Bhansali to shelve the film. These incidents have upset artistes all over the country and Manoj Bajpayee and Taapsee Pannu also expressed their displeasure on the same.
Aligarh actor Manoj Bajpayee told Bollywood Hungama in an exclusive interview, “It is very disturbing. It is disturbing not because the set belonged to Sanjay Leela Bhansali or Padmavati; it is disturbing because it has been happening frequently. If it is happening frequently then it shows that the tolerance level of many of the segments is going down. When that happens, it is a dangerous sign for not only freedom of expression but also the right to make films. I don’t know which aspect of my film will be objected or offend any segment in this country and they will be out to assault not only me but the film shoot, the cameramen, the director, it only shows that creativity is going to be in danger. Nobody knows the script, nobody has read the script, even if they read the script and if they disagree then should the film not be made, a novel shouldn’t be written so where are we going. Should we shut our shop? Give us an option. What should we do? What is the guarantee that tomorrow if we make another film it is not going to offend any segment. So, it is a very serious question. Attack and assault on any film set be it Padmavati or some small film made by some unknown director is a dangerous sign for the creative field.” (Also Read: Shahid Kapoor to sign Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next venture after Padmavati?)
It was not only Manoj but also his Naam Shabana co-star Taapsee Pannu who gave her opinions on the matter to Bollywood Hungama. She said, “The whole Meryl Streep incident that happened when she spoke, a lot of people from the media questioned our actors that why we don’t have an opinion, why we don’t speak out. If we say anything, stones are pelted at our house. We are the ones in danger, we need security after that. That didn’t happen to Meryl Streep. We do wanna speak out, a film like Spotlight was made in US, released in US, can you imagine a film like that in India. Padmavati is not even about religion still it is being created as if religious thing, community war that is happening. If you are comparing actors then kindly give the freedom to actors to be like that. I am just comparing Spotlight to something which is not even remotely close. Spotlight didn’t mince words, it was direct. It can never happen in India. Before even Padmavati is complete all this is happening, just imagine once it is complete.” (Also Read: Shahid Kapoor on Padmavati sets being vandalised: I am aware of what has happened but not aware of who is behind it)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati stars Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles. It is based on the famous queen of Chittor, Rani Padmini who did Jauhar rather than give in to the demands of Alauddin Khilji.