A simple note on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s strategic deployment of promotion of his movies by evoking the controversies.

We the citizens of the India always cherish our heritage. We love to live in the memories of our efficient and courageous ancestors. We feel proud to share stories of their bravery to coming generations. We propagate it by various means like vocally, books, songs, poems, plays, Cinema. Out of all channels, Cinema is trending one in recent years. We have seen biographies of many heroes on the silver screen. People really applauded to efforts of the film industry for bringing stories of some unsung heroes like Pan Singh Tomar, Milkha Singh, Mary Kom to name a few. Then they shifted to Villains like Charles Shobharaj, Dawood Ibrahim, Virappan etc. Those were also received well. All those movies were filmed by only using their names and stories altered according to their needs. Under the mask of cinematic liberty and right to expression. No one batted an eye. Then Film Industry started ransacking our history. This is where the shit went wrong. 

We Indians have always honoured everybody’s religious freedom, sentiments, freedom of speech, liberty and whatever Adarsh liberals seek the shelter of. But when it comes to tampering our sentiments be it our ancestors or our national pride we become restless. Sorry for that, but its inevitable.

Currently, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmavati’ movie is hot gossip. SLB is notorious for contaminating historical events and figures. He has proved that in the so-called biopic of the finest warriors of Maratha Kingdom, ‘Peshwa Bajirao’ in his (movie what he calls) ‘Bajirao Mastani’. As Bollywood is one of the finest channels to inculcate beliefs in our country, one would remember Bajirao Peshwa as a merely salacious man. Which is absolutely untrue and injustice with his greatness.

So ‘Sanjay Leela Bhansali’ the man with this potential has produced a movie on Rani Padmini. Yes, the legendary queen of ‘Chittorgarh’. We can not just oppose the movie without watching it, cause no one has watched the movie. But we know what Bhansali has done with the Bajirao Peshwa. And Rajput Community doesn’t want to take any chances.  So basically its Schrodinger’s cat. Has he morphed history or not? We can only know when we watch the movie.

So coming to the point. Many questions arise in mind when we observe the events keenly.

Who rumored about ‘said romance’ between queen and Khilji?

Why didn’t he denied rumors when he was assaulted in Rajasthan?

Was he not aware of the status of Queen in the society?

Was it SLB’s strategy to stay in news, increase movie buzz for no cost, Which went wrong subsequently?

He managed to save millions which were to be spent on promotions just by creating controversy.

A few years back, a movie was made on the life events of a criminal Manya Surve, named ‘Shootout at Wadala’. Some of the important events of his life were associated with infamous Gangster ‘Dawood Ibrahim’. So it was inevitable to include his name in the movie. And it was done so. First released trailer did feature his name, but subsequently for best- known reasons his name was changed from ‘Dawood’ to ‘Dilawar’. The movie showed Manya Surve manacing Dawood by entering his area and Dawood hiding behind the closed doors. If they can respect the sentiments of Dawood then why to insist on using Queens name?

We do understand cinematic liberty, but they also need to understand our legitimate interests of preserving our culture. Our heroes who died protecting our culture are not means of silly business. So better be aware of that and refrain from tempering it.


Akshay Bikkad

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