An unidentified group torched and reduced to ashes the massive outdoor film set of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film Padmavati early on Wednesday, an official said.
The incident occurred at the picturesque Masaipathar area, around 15 km on the outskirts of Panhala town in Kolhapur district, confirmed an investigating officer.
“The set is spread across nearly 50,000 square feet and a group of unidentified persons set it on fire around 1 a m,” the official told IANS.
A large team of police officers from Panhala and other police stations reached the film site immediately but no arrests have been made so far.
Nothing much could be rescued from trunks full of detailed costumes and accessories for Bhansali’s period drama, rues the designer who spent months of hard work on it all.
“It is very unfortunate that this is happening to such a creative person like Mr Bhansali,” Rimple of designer duo Rimple and Harpreet Narula, told IANS over phone.
A majority of the costumes, she said, were for junior artistes who were to shoot a pivotal scene showcasing an army in the movie, which is a historical costume drama based on the legendary Rani Padmini of Chittor in modern day Rajasthan.
“I have spoken to the makers, and they are saying the movie set is totally damaged, and things have been burnt to ashes. Nothing much could be rescued because perhaps the fire brigade didn’t reach in time.
“There were plenty of costumes, especially for junior artistes. These must be costumes for around 50 people who were to shoot a scene involving an army,” Rimple said, and added how these were stored in assorted trunks and labelled for each person.
So, Rimple rues how over and above the man hours that went into the production of these clothes, it’s the “emotions attached with their making” that matter a lot.
“There’s no measure for hard work, and it has all been burnt. The loss has not been accounted yet, but we will have to start from scratch. These were not easy costumes — there was a lot of detailing and were made according to sizing and measurement,” she said.
This is the second time Bhansali has faced the ire of certain groups over the filming of his next magnum opus Padmavati, a historic-costume drama based on the legendary Rani Padmini of Chittor in modern day Rajasthan.
On January 27, Bhansali was slapped, roughed up and his film set vandalised by Karni Sena activists in a Jaipur fort for alleged distortions in the film script.
The film is scheduled for a mid-November release this year.
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