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Why Shah Rukh Khan advised Padmaavat team to ignore controversy

While Khan didn’t name the film, he revealed that he had advised the team to keep mum and give no credence to a handful of protesters.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

Padmaavat weathered a fringe group storm and emerged triumphant at the box office. Even as the film courted controversy, one thing that remained constant was the stoic silence maintained by director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his team.

At a recent event, Shah Rukh Khan was asked his views on the controversy at the high-profile Magnetic Maharashtra trade event. 

While Khan didn’t name the film, he revealed that he had advised the Padmaavat team to maintain silence on the matter and not give any importance to a handful of protesters.

"Recently with the Viacom18 film [Padmaavat] we had people saying 'why don't the other stars come up, they are not coming up, oh they are hiding.' No, we are not hiding. As a matter of fact, the simple truth is this — there is a section of people who go on an 'uprising' so to say. If more prominent actors, actresses and directors came and talked about this film... as a matter of fact, many times I suggested to their team not to talk about this, just keep quiet because you are giving wind to fire. And suddenly these people are getting recognized by virtue of being on all the news channels. So don't give them importance."

The actor said being silent should not be mistaken for weakness. “Nobody is scared, fearful or hiding their own skin as is said about Bollywood stars, 'oh these people just want to earn money and not do anything for society'. No. We love our society. We make entertaining films and we want our society to be happy.

"A part of that happiness is as a 52-year-old father, I want you to come to the theatre safe and sound with your child and happily go, even if you don't like the film. The experience should be fantastic. That's my responsibility. So the hurtfulness is not because 'I am worried about my film' but I am worried about that girl, my own son watching the film,” the star said.

A few fringe groups had created a ruckus after accusing Bhansali of distorting history and 'hurting' Rajput pride. The groups claimed there was a dream sequence in the film between queen Padmini and sultan Alauddin Khilji. However, there was no such scene in the film.

The Central Board of Film Certification only asked director Bhansali to change the title of the film from Padmavati to Padmaavat. Despite a Supreme Court order, Padmaavat continues to be opposed in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Haryana.

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