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Sanjay Leela Bhansali slapped on sets of Padmavati in Jaipur, industry unites in support 

The director of Padmavati was harassed and assaulted in Jaipur on the sets of his film by members of the Karni Sena.

Shriram Iyengar

National Award-winning filmmaker and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was assaulted in Jaipur on the sets of his film, Padmavati by protestors belonging to the Karni Sena on Friday. The director was slapped, cursed at, and pulled by his hair while he was shooting at the Jaigarh fort during the Rajasthan schedule of his film starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. The protestors stormed the sets and also vandalised film equipment. 

The main objection of the protestors was over the alleged fact that the film shows the legendary queen Padmavati in bad light. Bhansali's film is a historical drama based on the story of Queen Padmini of Chittor who refused to submit to the advances of Allaudin Khilji during his invasion of Chittor. The protestors have alleged that there are love scenes between Rani Padmini, played by adukone, and Allauddin Khilji, played by Singh, in the film. It is not known whether Padukone or Singh were present at the sets during the scuffle. 

The Rajput Karni Sena demanded that Bhansali delete these scenes, if any. A leader of the group, Narayan Singh was quoted by reports saying, "We had warned the filmmaker against presenting wrong facts. When we came to know about the shooting, we gathered there and protested."

The response from the Jaipur police has also been non-commital with a senior police officer, Anshuman Bhomia telling news agency PTI: "The filmmakers have assured that they will not shoot here and will pack up," 

As shocking as the incident is, it has earned a scathing response from the film industry. Prominent members of the industry took to social media to vent their frustration and disappointment at the incident. Karan Johar, who recently suffered threats of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena during the release of his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016) said, "This is the time for all us as an industry to stand by our people and fraternity." 

Director Mahesh Bhatt also voiced his opinion on Twitter. He tweeted in response to the news, 'U don’t beat an idea by beating a person.U beat an idea by beating an idea.This politics of violence is chilling free speech.Raise ur voice!' 

Actor-director Farhan Akhtar called for the industry to unite together to oppose such acts of violence. He tweeted: 

Sonam Kapoor, a protege of Bhansali, wrote that she was 'appalled' at the event. 

Rishi Kapoor questioned if the protestors even knew the facts of the matter before indulging in such violence. 

Even Anurag Kashyap, reputedly not on good terms with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, spoke up against the violence. 

The last time the industry had united together to oppose the increasing censorship of Udta Punjab (2016). It will be interesting to see if a similar protest erupts now.