Dear Karni Sena,
I have something to tell you. I sat riveted to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat and while my entire consciousness was subsumed in the splendour, a part of my subconscious also wondered at the brutal attack that SLB had to suffer in the hands of your organization which supposedly espouses the Rajput community's interests.
Dear Karni Sena, I am not a Rajput. I am an Indian. And a Hindu. And a responsible citizen of India. I pay all my taxes and have never broken the law even in passing while you, sirs, have repeatedly thumbed your supposedly lofty noses at the law of the land by attacking a film which had been cleared by the highest authorities of the Government of India. Even when the Supreme Court gave it a go-ahead you continued your attacks on the film, its director and leading lady with unconstitutional impunity.
Well, sirs, having seen the film I want to tell you, you were way off the mark. You were lying to the public by accusing Padmaavat of being anti-Rajput. Far from it, the film is a glorious celebration of the Rajput community's bravery and fierce commitment to the sovereignty of the nation. Suggesting that Padmaavat was anti-national and an insult to the Rajput community is akin to calling the song Ae mere watan ke logon anti-patriotic. You were in fact alleging the exact opposite of what Padmaavat has done. It salutes the bravery of a community. You said it insulted the community. You were lying.
Now tell us, Dear Karni Sena, who will pay for all the damage, physical and emotional, that you caused the film and its director? How will you make amends for your uncouth attempts to jump into the jauhar fire with a whooping joy that children express when they dive into the swimming pool.
You swam into the deep end and waded into totally unfounded utterly conjectural moral policing on behalf of a community that totally disowns you.
I sat with Rajput friends to watch Padmaavat. They all had tears in their eyes as they watched Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone fight off the boorish foreign invader with every drop of their blood. Their spectacular sacrifice to make our nation what it us has not gone unrewarded. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made sure of that.
We all stood and applauded at the end of the film. Never have we felt more proud to be Indian, more happy to be watching a film that celebrates the valour of the warrior class with such glorious authority.
Dear Karni Sena, I have a question for you. What were you thinking while attacking this magical mystical ode to the spirit of gallantry? Or were you not thinking at all? Now that the truth is out in the public domain, what will you protest against? Maybe you can now protest against Padmaavat's failure to give you any genuine reason to protest.
All the best for your future tirades.
(Subhash K Jha is a film critic and movie expert)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)