‘PK’ or ‘Padmaavat’ way: Where is Manikarnika headed amidst political duress?

Mumbai: Manikarnika is at the center of a controversy with Kangana Ranaut battling it out against Karni Sena who have allegedly raised objections against the depiction of the Rani Laxmibai in the film. What is a little confusing here is the official spokespersons of Karni Sena have actually denied having protested against the film or threatened Kangana.

Dr Himanshu who is the national spokesperson of Karni Sena had said that they are not opposing Manikarnika till they don’t have anything substantial from the family, region or the community. Himanshu further added that many people are using Karni Sena’s name for their own vested interests and to bring disrepute to the organisation.

Also read: ‘Was offered ‘Manikarnika’ on the basis of horse riding,’ says Unnati Davara who rode Amarendra Baahubali’s horse

However, Kangana has already gone offensive and has threatened to destroy the Karni Sena if they continue to allegedly threaten her. “Four historians have certified Manikarnika, we have got censor certificate as well, Karni Sena has been conveyed this but they are continuing to harass me. If they don’t stop then they should know I am also a Rajput and I will destroy each one of them,” Kangana had said in an interview. 

This has made Karni Sena angry and the Maharashtra arm of Karni Sena has now issued threats to Kangana. Ajay Singh Sengar, president of Maharashtra Karni Sena said in an interview, “If she continues to threaten the members of our outfit, we will not let her walk freely in Maharashtra and will burn her film sets.”

For the moment, the Karni Sena has written to the makers of the film that, if the image of Rani Laxmibai is maligned in the film or if she is shown to be the lover of some British national, the makers will have to face consequences.

Supporting Kangana in this battle against Karni Sena are Raveena Tandon and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudeva. Raveena said, “Such threats are not at all justified. It is very terrible. These kind of threats should be taken seriously.” Sadhguru, meanwhile, said that the law of the country should take note of these threats and make sure that no person feels threatened in our country for making a film.

Trade experts feel unlike Padmaavat, the chances of Manikarnika getting affected this time around looks nil. A trade expert on condition of anonymity says, “There have been small protests here and there and Kangana’s statements have only added more fuel to fire which keeps the film trending and buzzing. But unlike Padmaavat, there is no danger of Manikarnika getting banned in any state.”

This is not the first time when a Hindi film has faced political protests in India. We take a look at a few instances:

Padmaavat – Karni Sena’s vociferous protests led to the film’s release being postponed from 2017 to 2018. The film was not released in a few states in India including Rajasthan. Bhansali was also slapped on the sets of the film by Karni Sena members. But finally the director had the last laugh as the film went on to make Rs 300 cr at the box office.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees–  In the aftermath of Uri attacks, Karan Johar and SRK’s films faced massive protests from Raj Thackeray led MNS for the casting of Pakistani actors. Karan had to edit out significant portions of Fawad Khan from his film to release it while SRK met Raj Thackeray to sort out the differences.

PK– A few Hinduvta groups took objection to the portrayal of Hindu gods in the film. They contended that the film had made fun of Hindu gods and insulted them and demanded a ban. However nothing major happened.

My name is Khan – The Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the screening of the film after SRK favoured the inclusion of Pakistani players in IPL. Posters of the film were pulled down and rallies were held. However, the film’s business wasn’t deeply affected.

Fanaa – Aamir Khan made a freak comment about the increasing height of Narmada dam that saw angry protests erupt in the state of Gujarat. Ultimately, the film was not released in Gujarat.

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