Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone withdrew from the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka in Hyderabad on Nov. 28.
Padukone’s withdrawal comes in the wake of political pressure against the movie Padmavati. She and the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali have received death threats for the movie that portrays the lives of a Rajput royal family and a Muslim ruler in the 13th century.
She was supposed to speak at a session on ‘Hollywood to Nollywood to Bollywood: The Path to Movie-making’ on Nov. 29.
“Earlier Deepika Padukone was expected to be in that session but now she has declined,” Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary, Information Technology, Government of Telangana, said, IANS reported. He said the reason was not known.
The actress has also worked in the Hollywood movie XXX: Return of Xander Cage, starring Vin Diesel, in 2017.
Various fringe groups have issued threats to burn or behead Padukone, or cut off her nose. Bhansali faces equally horrific death threats. The groups have said that the period drama distorts the memory of Rani Padmavati of Chittorgarh, on whom the movie is based. Meanwhile, the Karnataka government said it will provide security to her Bengaluru-based family.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath validated the groups threatening the duo, saying that they were equally responsible for fanning protests. The BJP chief media coordinator in Haryana, Surajpal Amu, said he would double the bounty for the heads of Padukone and Bhansali to Rs 10 crore after Rajput group Karni Sena gave the initial bounty. He also said that he would “break the legs” of Ranveer Singh, who portrays Alauddin Khilji. The BJP, the ruling party, on Nov. 20 ordered Amu to publicly apologize for his comments.
The film antagonized Hindutva groups after they thought that it explored a relationship between the queen and Khilji. However, the filmmakers have reassured them multiple times that there are no scenes in which the two have been shown together. It is believed that Padmavati committed jauhar (self-immolation) to protect herself from his sexual advances.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also blamed the filmmakers for hurting people’s sentiments. The production house Viacom18 has deferred the release of the movie to Dec. 1.