Bollywood’s Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt have found themselves smack dab in the middle of a controversy as they were stopped from offering prayers at a temple in India’s Ujjain due to protests by members of political party Bajrang Dal. The protest was over comments Kapoor made 11 years ago about eating and enjoying beef.

On Wednesday, Times of India reported a police report that said Kapoor and Bhatt were supposed to join director Ayan Mukerji to offer prayers at the temple on Tuesday ahead of the release of their film Brahmastra. On being informed about the celebrities’ arrival, the temple committee and district administration had arranged elaborate security arrangements. However, members of the political party opposed their entry due to a comment Kapoor made in 2011 about being a big “beef” guy.

What Ranbir Kapoor said in 2011

Kapoor had appeared on a show called The Foodie for Times Now where he enjoyed a meal with the host. When the host asked about his earliest memories of home-cooked meal, Kapoor shared that being from Peshawar, the Kapoor family is passionate about food and about paya, junglee mutton and mutton pulao.

“My family is from Peshawar so a lot of Peshawari influences in the food has also come with them,” he said, discussing his favourite vegetarian dishes but adding that he is more of a mutton and paya person. “I’m a big beef guy,” he told the host.

Most Hindus follow a strict diet as per their religious values that restricts them from having beef because cows are considered sacred. This is what angered the protesters, even though Bhatt is a self-avowed vegetarian.

Speaking about the fiasco at a promotional event in Delhi, director Mukherji addressed the temple issue and said he didn’t want to bring Bhatt along because of her pregnancy but both actors were keen to join him for the darshan [sermon].

Sharing his thoughts over the main leads of Brahmastra not being allowed to worship, he said, “I was feeling bad that Ranbir and Alia could not come with me for darshan to Mahakaleshwar temple. I had gone to Mahakaleshwar temple before my motion poster was released. And, I told myself that I will definitely come here before the release of my film.”

He explained that both actors were keen to join him but upon arrival when they heard about the protest he felt “bad” about what happened there and told Kapoor and Bhatt to let him go alone to seek “blessings and energy for the film”.

According to the publication, the couple had to return from the temple without praying because of the protests. The police also detained one of the protesters after he got into a physical altercation with an officer on duty.

“We won’t allow Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt into the temple over the liking for beef remark. We’ll protest in big manner against local administration and police over the assault on our worker,” Bajrang Dal leader Ankit Chaube told ANI.

Kapoor and Bhatt will be seen in Brahmastra alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Mouni Roy, Nagarjuna. The film is set to release tomorrow. Apart from this, Bhatt has Jee Le Zaraa, Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani and her Hollywood debut in Heart of Stone alongside Gal Gadot and Jamie Dornan coming up.

Kapoor has Luv Ranjan’s untitled next project and Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal in the pipeline.

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