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IFTDA to organize silent protest for Padmavati on 16 November

While, all the five Hindi film industry organizations have come out in support of Bhansali, actor Salman Khan has also asked to watch the film before making decisions.

IFTDA members at the press conference

Our Correspondent

The Indian Film and Television Directors' Association (IFTDA) held a press conference yesterday (13 November) evening to express solidarity with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati and condemn the threats the filmmaker is receiving from various Rajput organizations and members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

At the conference, the association decided to organize a silent protest at the Mumbai’s Film City on Thursday, 16 November, at 11 am, in support of Bhansali. Further, all movies shooting in the city that day will be halted for 15 minutes, starting 4 pm.

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The Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA), Western India Cinematographers Association (WICA), Film Writers' Association (FWA) and the Association of Cine and Television Art Directors & Costume Designers, also joined hands in support of Bhansali. 

Artistes like Vikram Gokhale, Sudhir Mishra, Rahul Rawail, Ashoke Pandit, Sushant Singh, Kushan Nandy, BP Singh, Amit Behl, Sukant Panigarha, Zama Habib, among others, gathered for the occasion. 

Presiding over the conference, Ashoke Pandit said, “There are five associations in the industry. We stand by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and the team of Padmavati. An attack on any filmmaker is an attack on the entire fraternity,” he said. “We stand for every film that is being targeted. Sanjay is symbol but our stand is for everyone,” he said.

Pandit added that they will be sending letters to information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani and home minister Rajnath Singh asking them to take strict action on those who are threatening the makers. 

He also said, "Nobody has seen the film, yet people are making assumptions and attacking and abusing Bhansali. Similar controversy happened around 'Indu Sarkar'. What will we do? We can't make films to suit everyone's ego. If someone doesn't want to watch the film, don't watch it. If someone doesn't want it to release, go to court." 

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While speaking about the issue, Sudhir Mishra said, “This is an attack on our freedom.” His acclaimed film Dharavi had faced similar protests back in 1992 from the political party, Shiv Sena. The filmmaker had recounted the incident while speaking at a film festival in Lonavala last year.

BP Singh believes that Bhansali wouldn’t misuse the medium. “Sanjay is one of the top most directors who has made the industry proud. He will not misuse the freedom,” he said. 

Sushant Singh clarified that they have voluntarily organized the press conference, and not at the behest of Bhansali. “Sanjay Leela Bhansali has not asked us for this press conference. But we are doing this as our duty to fight for freedom of expression,” he said. 

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He also questioned the central government’s silence over the matter, when members from their party are openly threatening the filmmaker. “My question is for the state and the central government. Why are you silent? People from your party are openly threatening to burn theatres. I have the right to ask for an assurance from the government,” he added. 

Meanwhile, actor Salman Khan has also come out in support of Bhansali and his film. While talking to the CNN Network 18, he said, “No decision should be made without seeing the film Padmavati. Sanjay Leela Bhansali makes lovely films and there is nothing wrong with his movies.” 

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Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, Padmavati i based on the queen of Chittor, Rani Padmavati. Those protesting over the film have accused the filmmaker of distorting facts and portraying queen Padmavati and Rajputs in bad light, and have demanded that a group of historians and their party members be shown the film before its release.