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SC directed state governments to release Padmaavat, not to us: Karni Sena chief

In an interaction with the media, Karni Sena chief, Lokendra Singh Kalvi, has said he would not let the film release "at any cost".

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If state governments are ready to release Padmaavat following the Supreme Court's order, the Rajput Karni Sena too is prepared to stop the release of the film that "doctors the great history of the nation", its chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi said on Monday, 22 January.

Kalvi, addressing media persons, spoke strongly against the release of the period drama, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, and demanded "nothing less than nationwide ban on the movie".

Earlier, Kalvi told IANS, a news agency, he would not allow Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat to be released "at any cost" and warned that if cinema halls went ahead with the 25 January release it would lead to an "enormous outburst of people".

He also urged other state governments that want a ban to come together to approach the Supreme Court.

"We will not allow the film to be released at any cost. The Supreme Court has directed the state governments to ensure release of the film, but not to us (Karni Sena). Once the film is released, the outburst of people will be enormous and cinema halls will be responsible for the cost. I request other state governments who had earlier declared they would ban the film to come forward and file a petition in the Supreme Court to stop the release of the film, " he said.

After facing protests since the film went on the floors, the 2D version of the film is set to be released worldwide on 25 January, while its 3D version will be released in select theatres on 24 January.

Protests against the Bhansali directorial have taken a violent turn in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, with the Karni Sena and other fringe outfits indulging in arson and vandalism.

Kalvi told the media that the film hurts the Rajput community's sentiments' by showing a dream sequence between Rani Padmini, played by Deepika, and Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji, portrayed by Ranveer Singh. However, Bhansali has repeatedly refuted the existence of any such scene.

Kalvi said that he received a letter from Bhansali on Sunday, 21 January, assuring that the movie would be shown to him before it is released but "he has not mentioned the date and time or place where the film will be shown".

"I have sent the answer to the letter," he said.

Asked about the protests against the movie in various states by Karni Sena members, Kalvi said, "These are not communal. We have all the right to protest peacefully."

Kalvi said: "Bhansali earlier decided to release the movie on 1 December, but he could not do so. He will not be successful in bringing it to cinema halls on 25 January. Though he has changed the film's name from Padmavati to Padmaavat, we will cut his nose once again as we did on 1 December."

Kalvi's comments come as the apex court is to hear on Tuesday, 23 January, a plea by the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan governments seeking to block the release of Padmaavat.

The court had directed that no state government would issue an order that might come in the way of the release of Padmaavat on 25 January.

The Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments have moved the apex court taking the support of the Cinematograph Act where movie screening can be stopped on grounds of law and order in the state.

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