Pune folk dancer apologises for ‘Laavni’ shoot in historic Lal Mahal

A prominent Pune folk dancer has apologised for a video shoot inside the historic Lal Mahal (Red Palace) following an uproar and the Faraskhana Police registering a complaint against her, here on Saturday.

The dancer, Vaishnavi Patil, along with 2 men and a woman, carried out an impromptu 20-minute ‘Laavni’ dance performance on April 16, and later posted the video on YouTube and other social media.

Taking strong umbrage, the Sambhaji Brigade State Organiser Santosh Shinde shot off a complaint to the Pune Police.

Taking cognisance, the Faraskhana Police Station late on Friday registered the complaint and have launched investigations into the matter.

Following Shinde’s complaint and the police response, dancer Patil on Saturday tendered a profuse apology in public and admitted that she had erred.

Other personalities like Housing Minister Dr Jitendra Awhad and many political leaders have frowned at and condemned the shoot inside Lal Mahal while the Sambhaji Brigade has demanded action against all others concerned failing which it would “not keep silent”.

“Lal Mahal has a great historic significance… It cannot be desecrated by a recorded-music dance performance in this manner. Who authorised it and why, we demand action against the civic officials who permitted the shoot,” an agitated Shinde told IANS.

The original Lal Mahal was built in 1630 and after over 350 years rebuilt in the same fashion by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and remains one of the biggest tourist attractions here.

Established by Shahaji Raje Bhosale 392 years ago, his wife Jijabai and their illustrious son Shivaji – later known to the world as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj – lived at Lal Mahal till 1645 before shifting to Torna Fort.

In between, the 10-year-old Shivaji was married to his first wife Saibai at the Lala Mahal in 1640, and in 1674, he was crowned as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at the Raigad Fort.

After the Bhosale family left it, Lal Mahal catapulted into history in 1663, when the Maratha warrior Shivaji caught the Mughal General Shaista Khan by surprise in a duel and chopped off his three fingers as he tried to escape from a window.

Patil, 23, who performed to a catchy ‘Laavni’ song from the Marathi film, “Chandramukhi” (April 2022), directed by Prasad Oak and has raised the hackles of many, while Shinde has threatened of more stormy weather ahead if the police fail to book all those responsible for the April 16 incident.

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