New Delhi, December 8: The Bombay High Court on Thursday came down hard on fringe groups for not allowing the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Padmavati’. Referring to the threats made to artistes, a bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre said that it is distressing to know that a person makes a feature film and several people work tirelessly towards it, but is not able to release the film because of continued threats.

“In which other country do you see threats given to artists and performers? What have we come to?” the bench asked. The court also noted that this was censorship of a different kind and it was damaging India’s image.

“In this country, we have come to a situation where people cannot voice their opinions. Everytime a person says he or she wants to voice their opinion, somebody or a fringe group says they would not allow it. This does not augur well for the state,” the judges said.

While pointing out some states where CMs had banned the release of ‘Padmavati‘, the bench stated, “Today, somebody says I will give a reward to anyone who kills an actress. Such open threats! People are taking pride in saying we will give reward to those, who will kill an actress. And even chief ministers are saying they will not allow the release of the movie in their states.”

“What concerns us is India’s image and reputation as a democratic country. We are the largest democracy. We cannot take pride in the happenings of such incidents day in and day out. We are cutting a very sorry figure,” Justices Dharmadhikari and Dangre said.

About Padmavati row

‘Padmavati’, featuring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, has been facing the wrath of various Rajput groups and political leaders, who have accused filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali of distorting history.

Historians are divided on whether Padmini actually existed. She finds mention in the 16th century epic poem “Padmavat”. Earlier scheduled to be released in cinema halls on December 1, the makers of the movie have postponed its release date for an indefinite period.