Sanjay Leela Bhansali's period drama Bajirao Mastani is due to hit screens today, but first, Priyanka Chopra has something to say.
The film, which stars Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra, has been on Shiv Sena's radar. Shiv Sena previously called for a temporary ban on the film, saying that the film shouldn't be released until 'historical inaccuracies' have not been rectified.
Bajirao and Mastani's descendants had taken exception to the film's "vulgar" portions and unrealistic trailer. They said that Priyanka and Deepika's 'Pinga' song had been shot like a "'Dola Re Dola' kind of item song with the body showing", which is a misrepresentation of their culture. They also objected to unrealistic fight sequences, the portrayal of 'private moments' and the exclusion of important characters in the war "who [had] also shed blood."
Actress Priyanka Chopra spoke out against factions who have been trying to thwart the release of the film.
She said on Twitter:
"I can’t help staying silent on this anymore. It’s too sad to see how films and actors become political pawns! Bans based on baseless propaganda. Holding films [for] ransom just before they release so that publicity can be garnered for certain agendas by forcing a producer to [his/her] knees."
She continued, "How does no one speak up for what is right? How is this fair? People think films [are] just fun and games to make?! They [are] made with blood, sweat and tears for entertainment! [Please] stand by the filmmakers who put in their life's money and hard work to make people laugh and smile. Don't let them be blackmailed and threatened by holding their films [for] ransom just before release."
"Speak up before, if there is an issue!" she entreated. "Everyone has a right to an opinion. The timing right before release just seems very suspect! I know I may get into trouble for saying all this but I can't be a silent witness to character defamation based on opinions anymore. That is not what, the India [where] I grew up, taught me."
While Buzzfeed India attributed Priyanka's outburst to rumours of the film being subjected to scrutiny by censor boards in Pakistan, an official from the Punjab Censor Board confirmed that the film is in fact releasing in Pakistan.
According to the official, both Punjab and Sindh Censor Boards have passed the film without any cuts, while the Central Board has passed it with a few cuts.
The film is set to have its public premiere in Pakistan today.