Last time we looked in on Deepika Padukone, we probably spent more time than we needed to on her product endorsements. Then again, how could we have predicted that a year later, there would be a price on her head?
A Hindu nationalist politician has offered a $1.5 million bounty for the heads of a movie star and her director amid backlash over a Bollywood film that allegedly misrepresented a Hindu legend.
Suraj Pal Amu, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, offered the reward for the beheadings of popular actress Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who worked on the movie Padmavati together.
The hotly-anticipated film has sparked controversy for depicting a forbidden romance between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler. It which was due to hit cinemas on 1 December, but its release has now been postponed.
The trailer for the film:
What’s all the fuss, you ask?
Based on a 16th century Sufi epic poem, the film tells the story of a Hindu queen who chooses to kill herself rather than be captured by a Muslim sultan. Over the centuries, the tale has come to be seen as history, even though there is little historical evidence to support it.
But a romantic dream sequence between the film’s protagonists — the queen (played by Padukone) and a Muslim invader — has caused outrage in India, with opponents claiming history is being misrepresented.
On 24 November 2017, a dead body was found hanging in Nahargarh Fort, with a sentence scribbled on a nearby rock wall stating in Hindi, “Padmavati ka virodh” (in opposition to Padmavati). The graffiti also included a warning, “We don’t just burn effigies, we hang them.” NDTV reports, “The police say it’s not clear if this is a case of suicide or murder.” The death, initially thought to have been committed against the release of Padmavati, was later found to have been committed to bring about communal riots by turning Hindus against Muslims, by giving an impression of the murder having been committed by Muslims in support of Padmavati.
So, is this film doomed?
“Nothing and no one can stop this film,” says Deepika.