A member of India’s Hindu nationalist ruling party has offered a £1million reward to anyone who beheads the lead actress and the director of the yet-to-be released Bollywood film.
The film, Padmavati, has angered many Hindus and sparked controversy across India for its portrayal of a relationship between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler.
Offering the reward Thakur Abhishek Som, national president of Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Yuva Mahasabha, said: “Anyone who brings the head of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone will be rewarded with Rs 5 crore.
”Rani Ma Padmavati had sacrificed her life with 12,000 other women in mass immolation (Jauhar), and Bhansali has raised a question on her courage by showing her in bad light in his film.
”This is unacceptable. Either both of them should leave the country or get ready to be beheaded,”
The film’s producers have now postponed the release of the film, which was set to be in theaters December 1.
The film itself is based on a 16th century Sufi poem in which a fictional queen chose to kill herself by jauhar, the medieval practice in which women of royal households walked into funeral fires over being taken captive.
Earlier this month another senior official said Padukone should have her nose cut – a symbol of public humiliation – for taking part in a film which insults the queen.
Keshav Prasad Maurya, deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, also chimed in and said he would not allow the release of the film unless scenes showing the queen in a ‘poor light’ were deleted.
‘How can a Muslim aggressor be portrayed as the real hero and the Hindu king and queen as victims? This is factually incorrect,’ said Maurya.
Superintendent of police, Maan Singh Chauhan, told Times of India: “A case has been filed against Som under section 115 (abetment of offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life) and section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC at the Nauchandi police station,”