Should the film Padmavati be banned

Dispute over Padmavati

After violent protests, the historical film »Padmaavat« about a legendary Hindu queen came to the cinemas in India under strict security precautions. Thousands of police officers stood guard in front of cinemas across the country on Thursday for the start of the Bollywood film. Several schools were closed near New Delhi after a school bus was attacked during riots. The film has been causing protests for months, with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali attacked, the leading actress threatened and film sets destroyed. Hundreds of demonstrators devastated shops and set fire to cars in the city of Ahmedabad on Wednesday night.

The film is about the Hindu queen Padmavati and the Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji, who lived in the 13th and 14th centuries. Radical supporters of the Rajput caste who worship Padmavati accuse the filmmakers of staging a romance between the two and distorting historical facts. Historians, on the other hand, have strong doubts that Padmavati even existed.

Several states tried unsuccessfully to prevent the film from opening. The Supreme Court ruled that banning film would violate artistic freedom. The film opened on Thursday in almost 5,000 cinemas across the country and, according to experts, is likely to be a box-office hit. AFP / nd

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