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NEW DELHI/MUMBAI – The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday ordered one of its senior members to apologise publicly after he offered a reward for anyone who beheaded Bollywood star Deepika Padukone for her role in “Padmavati”, a movie whose portrayal of a Hindu queen and a Muslim conqueror has enraged Hindu activists.
The film, based on an epic poem, explores the relationship of a Hindu queen from the Rajput warrior clan and Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji.
The movie was due to open on Dec. 1 but its producers postponed the release. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, both ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP, banned it outright.
The BJP has asked Suraj Pal Amu, a senior member, why he offered 100 million rupees ($1.54 million) on the weekend to behead both Padukone, one of Bollywood’s biggest earners, and the movie’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Members of hardline Hindu fringe groups and the BJP have criticised the film, accusing Bhansali of distorting history by showing the Muslim aggressor as the Hindu queen’s “lover”.
Bhansali was attacked on set in January by a Rajput organisation. Some Rajputs believe that the queen chose self-immolation to reject the Muslim king’s sexual advances.
“We will not tolerate any violent remarks from our party members, but we also want the director to respect India’s history,” said Anil Jain, the head of the BJP’s state unit in Haryana, to which Amu belongs. He said the party was considering legal action.
Haryana police did not respond to requests for comment.
Officials at the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting said Hindu groups and some members of the ruling party had spread rumours about the film, which no members of the public and government had yet seen.
Keshav Prasad Maurya, deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, said he would not permit the movie’s release unless scenes showing the queen in a “poor light” were deleted.
“How can a Muslim aggressor be portrayed as the real hero and the Hindu king and queen as victims? This is factually incorrect,” said Maurya.
Indian movies that touch upon the chronicled connections of Hindus, India’s larger part religion, and Muslim pioneers are regularly disputable.
The leader of the Focal Leading body of Film Affirmation, Anurag Srivastava, said Padmavati’s makers had connected on Nov. 10 to discharge the film, however the application was denied in light of the fact that makers did not elucidate whether the film depended on reality or fiction.
Oversight of movies can be exceedingly charged. The legislature in August expelled CBFC’s administrator after feedback from Bollywood movie producers enraged by endeavors to clean workmanship and mainstream culture.
Viacom 18 – a joint wander between Viacom Inc and Dependence Enterprises’ System 18 – is the studio behind the film, which examiners appraise cost some $23 million.
A senior police official in Mumbai said they had offered expanded security to Padukone and Bhansali.