Party chief offers £1m for execution of Bollywood star

WB CM Mamata Banerjee

They have stepped up protests in recent weeks, including making a death threat against lead actress Deepika Padukone. "We will announce the revised release date of the film in due course", it said.

Padmavati has been in trouble since the beginning of the year, with fringe groups in the western state of Rajasthan attacking the film's set, threatening to burn down theaters that show it and even physically attacking Bhansali in January.

According to a 16th century Sufi epic poem, Padmini walked into a funeral pyre to avoid being captured by the Muslim sultan of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji, who was enchanted by her beauty. Its elaborate sets were also vandalised during shooting schedules in Jaipur and Kolhapur.

The release of the blockbuster Padmavati, which she stars in, has been delayed after a politician from India's governing BJP party offered to pay a $1.5m (£1.13m) bounty for anyone who beheaded Ms Paukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Security for Padukone, one of India's biggest movie stars, was increased earlier in November, Mumbai's joint commissioner of police Deven Bharti told CNN.

The film has been mired in controversy over conjectures that it "distorts history" regarding Rajput queen Padmavati, a contention that Bhansali has repeatedly denied.

"It is absolutely appalling", Padukone said. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, both ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP, banned it outright.

Commenting on Pal Amu's statement, another BJP leader, Anil Jain, said that the ruling party does not support the threat.

The movie, which was due to go on release in India on December 1, has led to protests in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and other states.

The film was scheduled to be released in theatres across India last Friday, but the release was deferred after the Indian Central Board of Film Certification, popularly called the censor board, withheld the movie's clearance claiming its paperwork was incomplete.

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