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Rajput Community in UK to Protest Over Padmavati Release

Deepika Padukone as Padmavati in film's poster

Members of the Rajput community in the United Kingdom have written to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), after it approved the release of the controversial Hindi film Padmavati without any cuts. The BBFC gave the film a 12A rating, which means that a child under the age of 12 cannot watch it unless accompanied by an adult.

“‘Padmavati‘ (12A) moderate violence, injury detail,” the official website of the British censor board stated. “All known versions of this work passed uncut,” it said.

Rajput Samaj, a group in the United Kingdom, said that it would protest against the BBFC’s certification without cuts.

“We as Rajputs are very concerned about the Padmavati situation,” Mahendra Singh Jadeja, the president of the Rajput Samaj of the United Kingdom, was quoted as saying by CNN-News18. “We have written to the BBFC…. We also have plans to campaign and protest to ensure that this film is not released in the UK.”

“We are asking for legal opinion and want to remain within the law. This is not the first time that he (Bhansali) is distorting the history. This time we are sure that the entire story is being distorted. We want to make sure that the people are made aware of the real story and not the creative story which is being shown to the public just to make money,” Jadeja said.

The BBFC has refused to comment on the matter.

The release of the movie, however, has been deferred until India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) approves it, an official of Viacom 18, the makers of Padmavati, was cited as saying by PTI. “The film was cleared by the UK censor board without any cuts. But we are waiting for censor clearance in India. Till then we will not release the film anywhere,” the report quoted the official as saying.

Meanwhile, the Shree Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS) declared on Nov. 23 that it would protest the release in the United Kingdom, and if necessary, members of the organization would go to the European country for the purpose. They also said that it would mobilize the Rajput and Hindu organizations in the United Kingdom to stop the film’s release.

SRKS patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi said that he wrote to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, requesting her to use “India’s good diplomatic ties with England” in this matter.

“The Indian government cannot pass orders to the British government, but to maintain good relations with India, I hope the British government will honor the sentiments of the people,” he said.

Despite appeals and assurances from director Sanjay Leela Bhansali that the film, which revolves around the story of a Rajput queen and a Muslim ruler in the 13th century, does not include scenes where Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji are shown together, the protesters have continued to demand a ban on the film.

The movie stars Deepika Padukone as Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji. Both Padukone and Bhansali have faced condemnation from members of the Rajput community, including death threats, over the film.