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Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati lost Rs 4 crore due to vandalism

Padmavati-set-burntThe shoot of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati was once again stalled as a group of 30-odd rowdies carried out a midnight attack on the lavish set at Masai Pathar in Panhala, 20 km from Kolhapur, forcing the makers to file a police complaint. This incident came close on the heels of vandalism and assault on the film’s Jaipur set.

Bhansali’s team pegs the loss at nearly Rs 4 crore, according to the complaint registered by the film’s executive producer Chetan Devalkar.

Armed with bamboo sticks, the mob hurled petrol bombs at a few tents, gutting valuable antiques, regal costumes and vehicles. No one from the cast and crew was injured since shoot wasn’t on at that time. A large number of camels, elephants and horses were brought to Kolhapur to shoot a battle scene yesterday. A horse, which had also been used in SLB’s Bajirao Mastani (2015), was grievously injured.

“Two to three workers also got hurt as the miscreants hit them with bamboo sticks. Several beer bottles, petrol and soda cans were used to start the fire,” said MB Tambade, Kolhapur superintendent of police, adding, “We have registered an offence under Section 436 of IPC (mischief by fire or explosive with intent to damage house), rioting and arson.”

The set was around 25-feet tall and under police protection with 18 cops on patrolling duty during the day. However, the attack took place close to 12.30 am. “They emerged from behind a hill in droves, attacked the set and fled in 15 minutes. Around five tending vehicles were called and the flames were doused in an hour. First, the [injured] horse and other animals were rescued. We suspect involvement of the local youth and are probing it. We have got CCTV camera footage of the incident and a probe is underway,” said Tambade.

Though no group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, village sarpanch Priyanka Mahadik is confident that no local could be involved. “Many of them had found work, thanks to the film’s shoot,” she reasons.

Inspector Dhayankumar Godse, who is probing the case, reveals the miscreants came in SUVs and trucks and hurled the petrol bombs. He added, “A few workers caught hold of one attacker. Based on his clothes and blood sample, we will reach the culprits. Sniffer dogs have also been pressed into service.”

Inspector General of Police Vishwas Nangare Patil, who rushed to Kolhapur yesterday, said they have stumbled upon five clues. “Unlike earlier, we will not only beef up security, but also ensure it is round the clock. Bhansali will resume shooting a week later,” he said.

Bhansali remained unavailable for comment. The spokesperson of his production house said, “The set of Padmavati in Kolhapur witnessed an unfortunate incident, when certain miscreants set it on fire to damage property. A complaint has been filed, but we are grateful that there has been no loss of life or harm to anybody on set. Thankfully, the incident occurred after we had wrapped our shoot for the day and the cast and crew were safely away. Unfortunately, around 70 to 80 per cent of the costumes and jewellery for the movie were destroyed.”

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