An Indian politician is demanding that a popular Bollywood actress and the director of her upcoming film be brutally murdered and beheaded – and has even offered a $1.5 million-dollar bounty – because of the film’s alleged disrespect of the story of a Hindu queen.
Surajpal Amu, a media coordinator for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has called on supporters to take deadly action against actress Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali over upcoming film “Padmavati,” the Washington Post reported.
“We will reward the ones beheading [Padukone and Bhansali] with Rs 10 crore, and also take care of their family needs,” Amu said, according to news agency ANI.
“Padmavati,” which follows the life of the legendary 14th-century queen Padmini, has ignited controversy for allegedly misrepresenting her history by depicting a love affair between Padmini and a Muslim invader. Hindu nationalists have also expressed outrage over the fact that Padmini’s midriff becomes exposed during a musical number.
According to the director, however, there is no love scene between Padmini and a Muslim warrior anywhere in the film. Bhansali insists that “Padmavati” is respectful both toward the historic queen and the contribution of the warrior Rajput caste – whose modern-day associates, the Rajput Karni Sena, have led the charge against the film – to expelling Muslim invaders.
The BJP has distanced itself from Amu, with one official claiming that they make legal action against him over the death threats.
Padukone herself expressed outrage that Amu and others would support beheadings over a movie.
“It’s absolutely appalling. What have we gotten ourselves into? And where have we reached as a nation?” she wondered. “We have regressed. The only people we are answerable to is the censor board, and I know and I believe that nothing can stop the release of this film.”
Padukone, who stars as Queen Padmavati, is known to English-speaking audiences for her role in “XXX: Return of Xander Cage” alongside Vin Diesel.