As so-called affiliates of fringe right wing groups continued to make public threats towards actress Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, state government authorities, police and political parties failed to reign the thugs in, and watched silently as the protests spiralled out of control.
In a latest bid to gain legitimacy, members of the Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha (ABKM) announced a Rs 1 crore reward for anyone who burns Padukone alive.
"Deepika should know how it feels like to be burnt alive. The actress will never know the sacrifice of the queen. Any person burning her alive will be given Rs 1 crore. We demand that office- bearers of the organisation be shown the movie before it is released," ABKM's youth wing leader Bhuvneshwar Singh said.
Members of ABKM burnt over a hundred effigies of Padukone, who plays the titular character in the film 'Padmavati', and shouted slogans.
Yesterday, a BJP office bearer from Haryana announced a 10-crore bounty on the heads of Padukone and Bhansali, an inflammatory threat that has shocked people, but failed to attract the attention of lawmakers.
Surajpal Amu, the party's chief media coordinator, has even threatened to "break the legs" of Ranveer Singh, who Alauddin Khilji in the film.
Such has been the violent posturing by fringe groups who are vying with each other to become mainstream by forcing the release date of the film to be postponed that filmmaker Shyam Benegal yesterday questioned the government for its silence.
"Will people ask for heads publicly and offer money for the lives of those who disagree with them, and the state will do nothing to prevent it? The Home department and the police should move in immediately and offer protection. That would be the thing to do. When chief ministers and members of government adopt such an approach, what else will the administration do," Benegal told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, another group protesting the release of the film they claim have distorted historical facts, have deferred their 1 December 'Bharat Bandh' call. "Once the new release date is announced, we will again apply our full strength and force to stop the release of Padmavati," said Lokendra Singh Kalvi, the group's founder.
People reached with disgust, shock and anger on Twitter.
So impressed with bravery of rajputs ready to pay others to behead people over a movie. #Padmavati. Jai hind.
— Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) November 19, 2017
CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi has said "it is disappointing that the film 'Padmavati' is being screened for the media and getting reviewed on national channels without the CBFC having seen or certified the film."
"It's myopic to treat the certification process haphazardly to suit convenience. On one hand, holding the CBFC responsible and pressurizing to accelerate the process. And on the other hand, attempt to subvert the very process, sets an opportunistic precedent," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)