KOLKATA: Taking a plunge into the ‘Padmavati’ movie controversy, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday termed the row as a “calculated move of a political party to destroy freedom to express” and called the film industry to come together and protest in one voice.
Without naming BJP in her fresh salvo against the Centre, the Trinamool Congress supremo tweeted on Monday: “The #Padmavati controversy is not only unfortunate but also a calculated plan of a political party to destroy the freedom to express ourselves. We condemn this super emergency. All in the film industry must come together and protest in one voice.”
Banerjee’s statement gains significance in the run-up to the Gujarat polls.
The West Bengal chief minister might also want to make use of her closeness with top Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan to corner the BJP on the Padmavati row by creating a public opinion against the saffron party ahead of the crucial Gujarat elections.
The association between Mamata Banerjee and Shah Rukh Khan is well known with Banerjee nominating Khan as the brand ambassador of West Bengal tourism and dropping him at the airport in her modest Hyundai Santro car after the inauguration of the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) here on November 10.
On the other hand, the West Bengal chief minister hailed Amitabh Bachchan – who incidentally is the brand ambassador of Gujarat tourism – as the ‘son-in-law of Bengal’ because of his marriage with Jaya Bhaduri, who hails from the state. Bachchan had responded by reading out couplets of Rabindranath Tagore and hailed the contribution of Bengalis to Bollywood, at the KIFF inauguration.
None of the top Bollywood actors, including Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan or even the more vocal Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have condemned the issuance of bounties for the heads of ‘Padmavati’ director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and lead actress Deepika Padukone by fringe groups and BJP leaders.