Mumbai, March 15, Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Deepak V. Kesarkar said filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali had declined night security for the "Padmavati" film set in Kolhapur which was torched by some unidentified persons in the early hours of Wednesday.
He said earlier the local police had deployed one officer and five constables for day security, but now it has been upgraded to one officer and 12 constables who will guard the unit round-the-clock.
Kesarkar said top police officials have met and requested Bhansali to lodge a formal complaint with the local police.
The minister's comments came in the wake of the torching of "Padmavati" outdoor film set by a group of around two dozen unidentified persons, almost reducing it to ashes in the picturesque Masaipathar area.
The incident occurred around 1 a.m. at the locale on Masaipathar plateau, around 15 km on the outskirts of Panhala town in Kolhapur district. The set was for Bhansali to shoot a war scene.
Since the fire brigade could not reach the disaster site quickly, nearby villagers helped douse the flames and moved the people and animals on the sets, mostly horses, to safety, avoiding casualties, locals said.
"The set is spread across nearly 50,000 square feet and a group of unidentified persons set it on fire around 1 a.m. today," an investigating official told IANS from the site.
A large team of police from Panhala and other nearby police stations are at the film site probing the matter. So far there have been no arrests, he said.
"Padmavati" tells the story of Alauddin Khilji, the medieval-era Delhi ruler, who fell in love with Rajput queen Padmavati. Actors Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor star in the film.
This is the second time that Bhansali has faced the ire of certain groups over the film's shooting. On January 27, Bhansali was slapped, roughed up and his film set vandalised by Karni Sena activists in Jaipur's Jaigarh Fort for alleged distortions in the film's script.
Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde on Wednesday urged filmmakers to exercise restraint while tackling sensitive issues in movies.
"Bhansali's films are based on historical topics which can attract varied opinions from the society. Both sides could sit and discuss the issues and sort out the controversies," Tawde told the media.
Though it is not clear when the shooting will resume, the film is slated for a mid-November release this year.