Amidst growing protests against the release of film Padmavati and threats to its maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the Maharashtra government has provided security to the veteran filmmaker.
The Indian Film and Television Directors' Association (IFTDA) thanked state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the security to Bhansali, who resides in and works from Mumbai.
"We have no words to express our gratitude for providing police protection to our esteemed member," filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, also convenor of IFTDA, said.
On behalf of the film industry, Pandit urged the government to "help the victim" release his film in time. The epic period drama is due for release on December 1.
Recently, Pandit mobilised support of other film bodies, including Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA), Western India Cinematographers Association (WICA), Screenwriters Association (SWA), Association of Cine and Television Art Directors & Costume Designers, besides the Allied Mazdoor Union, to back Bhansali.
Bollywood celebrities, including Salman Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Javed Akhtar, Sidharth Malhotra and Karan Johar, too extended support to the filmmaker.
Padmavati is based on Rani Padmini of Chittorgarh, a Hindu Rajput queen, mentioned in Padmavat - an Avadhi language epic poem written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. Bhansali's magnum opus stars Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Rawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi.
The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has taken a divergent view from that of several Right-wing organisations and a section of BJP leaders.
"It is not right to protest without seeing the film," said Amey Khopkar, president of Manse Chitrapat Sena. "Several BJP leaders are opposing the film. They have their government. If they have the courage, they should stop the release of the film," he added.