Bollywood's Deepika Padukone Cancels Appearance With Ivanka Trump In India As Hindu Nationalists Put $1.5 Million Bounty On Her Head

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Bollywood's Deepika Padukone Cancels Appearance With Ivanka Trump In India As Hindu Nationalists Put $1.5 Million Bounty On Her Head

In India, the highly-anticipated release of the movie 'Padmavati' has been delayed after a politician from India's governing party has offered a bounty of $1.5 million for the heads of Deepika Padukone, Bollywood's highest-earning actress, who plays the 14th century Hindu queen -- and also the movie's director Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Padmavati is a fictional queen in the epic poem 'Padmavat' by 16th-century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. The poem was written more than 200 years after the actual invasion and was absolutely impacted by folklore. 

The poem elevated the virtue of Padmavati, who committed sati, in which a widow immolates herself on her husband's funeral pyre in order to protect her honor. Initially sati was practiced after Hindu men were defeated in battle and to avoid being taken by Muslim men. Like so many customs, the act of sati -- or committing suicide by fire with the death of the husband -- came to be seen as an act of devotion. The custom was outlawed by India's British rulers in 1829 following demands by Indian reformers.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has courted Hindu nationalists as part of his political base -- as has Donald Trump. In the US presidential election, Hindu nationalists were burning images of Hillary Clinton in the streets.