Where is Karni Sena now? 

Within a week of the release of Padmaavat, all those who spoke in favour of banning Karni Sena have suddenly gone silent and the Sena leaders have vanished

Photo by Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Soroor Ahmed

Within a week of the release of Padmaavat all the big guns of Karni Sena have fallen silent. The filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is not being threatened, no one is baying for the blood of Deepika Padukone and theatre-owners and, of course children going to school on bus, are breathing a sigh of relief.

From the self-appointed Senapati (Commander) to his foot soldiers all have vanished and have got mixed up with the people after throwing their ‘arms’. Many of them are no more interested in showing their association with the Sena.

After hogging the limelight of electronic as well as print media for months they are now facing the wrath of the common mass, who are, after watching the film, asking what was wrong and objectionable in it.

Ironically, no untoward incident has taken place after the screening of the film on January 25. Earlier, property worth millions of rupees were destroyed and vandalised and anyone speaking even a word in favour of the film was bullied and threatened.

Now movie-goers are flocking to theatres in the states where it was not initially shown.

An objective analysis of the prolong ruckus––right from the time of shooting to screening––reveals that the only thing in which Karni Sena has succeeded is getting the letter ‘i’ dropped and ‘a’ added in Padmavati. But that was achieved after great economic, social, political and diplomatic costs. What had happened all those days on the eve of Republic Day, when the country was hosting 10 leaders from ASEAN countries has only left a poor image about India. Just before that we had hosted the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well.

A week after the release, citizens are convinced that the four BJP-ruled states which did not allow the screening on the first day had actually surrendered before––if not connived with––the hoodlums.

If it could have been screened in Yogi’s-Pradesh, Jharkhand and a dozen other NDA-ruled states why could it have not be shown in theatres of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa.

Perhaps barring Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh has the highest concentration of Rajputs in India, yet nothing had happened in that state.

Had the Karni Sena storm-troopers continued their agitation after January 25, it would have been understood that they were honest in their approach. In the last few days they have gotten completely exposed, so is the Bharatiya Janata Party, who throughout these months tried to make political capital out of such vandalism.

If nothing has come out of the Padmaavat controversy, who is going to bear the cost of the loss of country’s image?

Anyway, film critics, women’s rights groups and journalists are criticising Bhansali now for the entirely different reason. They are of the view that in taking poetic licence he had done a great disservice to women in general. They have been shown as weak, totally obedient to husbands and incapable of taking any decision. Besides, it is the image of Alauddin Khilji that has actually been distorted.

All this could come out only when we watched the film.

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Published: 02 Feb 2018, 5:39 PM