Director Rahul Rawail says filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, whose forthcoming film Padmavati is surrounded by controversy, has the right to re-interpet history according to his imagination.
As part of protest against the film, based on the life of Rani Padmini or Padmavati, who was queen of Chittorgarh, entry to the famous Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan was closed on Friday. Many, including the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, an organisation of the Rajput community, claim the film has distorted historical facts.
Rawail feels the protesters should trust Bhansali’s judgement.
“Is he making a historical or a semi-historical film? Either way, he has the right to re-interpet history according to his imagination. Bhansali earlier did his interpretation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s ‘Devdas’,” he said.
“He made a radical change in his film by making Sarat Chandra’s Paro and Chandramukhi come together. This was a departure from the original novel, and one that had the purists fuming in rage. But when the film came out the Paro-Chandramukhi meeting was a dramatic high point in the film.”
Rawail claims to have gone through the script of Padmavati and says he has not encountered anything objectionable or offensive in it.
“Yes, there is nothing there to raise hackles, let alone cause a nationwide stir. What for? Let the film come out and the audience will know what’s what. Having said that, I must add that this is not about just Sanjay Leela Bhansali,” asserts Rawail.
He feels the attempt to muzzle moviemakers is epidemic.
“When I was attacked for my film ‘Jo Bole So Nihaal’ 12 years ago, no one stood by me. Today, Bhansali is lucky he has so many people speaking up for him. We need to stand up as one voice to oppose attempts to smother our right to make the film we want. Yesterday, the victim was me. Today, it’s Bhansali. Tomorrow, it could be someone else.
“This kind of hooliganism is not going to stop unless we filmmakers take a collective stand against it.”
He advises the anti-Padmavati brigade to not jump the gun.
“Bhansali is a responsible filmmaker. He knows what he’s doing. Please trust his judgement.”